LED Installation Illuminates Chicago’s West Loop

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A stunning new media installation illuminates Chicago’s West Loop. 150 Media Stream is a 3,000-square-foot display divided into 89 separated super-thin LED blades variously sized between 3.25 inches and 15 inches in width, and standing vertically anywhere from 6-feet to 22-feet-tall. Creative content is provided by distinguished artists as well as students from partnering cultural and educational institutions.

Nominating Company: McCann Systems, Holmdel, New Jersey
Venue: 150 Media Stream, Chicago, Illinois
Project: 150 Media Stream
Category: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

BACKGROUND
150 Media Stream is a multi-faceted achievement in art, architecture and technology that celebrates the transformative power of art as a collective experience. This digital art installation is unlike anything one could imagine up to this point. It explores the interplay of art, space and viewership in both public and private contexts.

Developed in partnership with Chicago’s premier arts, culture and higher learning institutions, as well as private supporters, the 150 Media Stream is an international platform for both rising and established media artists from Chicago and all over the world.

This revolutionary art initiative features competitively selected collaborative works by exceptional art educators and students through its groundbreaking media arts program, ensuring a truly representative cross-section of Chicago’s diverse arts community.

CHALLENGES
150 Media Stream spans across the lobby of 150 North Riverside Plaza, a shimmering 53-story cantilevered glass tower alongside the Chicago River. The building is hailed as an architectural phenomenon, balancing 1.25 million rentable square feet on a tiny 1.5-acre site amidst seven active rail lines to the west and the river to the east. The narrow building footprint and lobby required innovative design and engineering to create this monolithic digital canvas.

In addition to its unique design, content for 150 Media Stream sets the installation apart. Rather than populate these blades with meaningless corporate videos and commercials, Riverside Investment & Development focused on creating an exciting arts and cultural experience within the building.

150 Media Stream pic2

SOLUTIONS
150 Media Stream features 89 vertical video elements, varying in height and width, each covered in tight-pitch LED; the equivalent of four 4K video feeds. Each blade ranges from 3-inches to 15-inches-wide and 6-feet to 22-feet-tall. Including the negative space between each blade, the visual display spans more than 150 feet of the open lobby space.

Design requirements for the digital art experience were well beyond existing technologies, so McCann Systems engineered, fabricated and integrated the blades along with the infrastructure to support it. These video components were manufactured exclusively for this art installation and not found anywhere else on the globe.
Content is constantly varied and showcases commissioned works from distinguished artists as well as students from classes sponsored by Riverside. Additional real-time generative content complements artistic creative material and is interspersed throughout the daily lineup thanks to a custom content delivery system.

RESULTS
150 Media Stream was created as a hybrid partnership between leading corporations, cultural and educational institutions, and both emerging and established visual artists. This includes the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, University of Illinois at Chicago, Electronic Visualization Laboratory, Hyde Park Art Center, the University of Chicago and various international experts in urban media art.

This revolutionary art initiative features competitively selected collaborative works by exceptional art educators and students through its groundbreaking media arts program, ensuring a truly representative cross-section of Chicago’s diverse arts community.

As a core tenet of the 150 Media Stream’s founding mission, the arts program has sponsored select projects from up-and-coming media artists; commissioned works from distinguished laboratories and museums; and served as the focus of intensive graduate-level coursework, featuring competitively curated student submissions and educator/student collaborative works alongside internationally renowned media artists.

PROJECT PARTNERS
150 Media Stream commissioned and curated by:
Riverside Investment & Development

Display concept and physical structure by:
McCann Systems in cooperation with Digital Kitchen

150 N. Riverside Plaza lobby and building design by:
Goettsch Partners

Identity and graphic design by:
The Narrative: branding & design

Creative content partnership with:
Leviathan

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