CHICAGO, Sept. 26, 2018 — Obscura Digital, a San Francisco-based creative studio and globally-recognized leader in experiential technology, has partnered with property management company Vornado Realty Trust and architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Inc. to design and deliver an unprecedented permanent digital projection display that will illuminate theMART building in Chicago with large-scale visual artistry. Set to launch Saturday, September 29 at dusk (6:30pm CST), the curated program of works by contemporary artists Diana Thater, Zheng Chongbin, Jason Salavon and Jan Tichy will last for approximately 35 minutes, culminating in a one-minute pyrotechnic display.
Obscura – which is renowned for large-scale architectural projection mapping on iconic buildings around the world – will use their innovative expertise to project this curated series of digital artwork for two hours per night, five nights per week (Wednesday-Sunday), for ten months of the year (March – December). The projections will span across 2.5 acres of theMART’s exterior river façade, creating the largest permanent digital art projection in the world. The projections will be visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk. The City of Chicago and theMART will work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement. Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of this size and scope will be completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging.
“We are honored to be part of this unprecedented project, and to help drive Chicago’s ambitious creative vision forward by creating a one-of-a-kind, permanent digital art fixture to add to the city’s iconic riverfront,” said Travis Threlkel, co-founder, Obscura Digital. “Art on theMart’s vast size and scale will ensure that this display will become a truly transformative and immersive experience that changes the way people view the world around them.”
Obscura Digital is part of The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), a world leader in live experiences. Acquired in 2017, Obscura Digital’s expertise in cutting-edge immersive technolgies is helping MSG deliver innovative, new experiences across its portfolio of live offerings. This includes the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, presented by Chase, as well as MSG’s newest endeavor – the Company’s planned state-of-the-art MSG Sphere venues in Las Vegas and London.
“At MSG, we continue to explore innovative ways to create live entertainment that is beyond what anyone could ever imagine,” said Victoria Parker, executive vice president, productions, The Madison Square Garden Company. “Obscura Digital creates culturally significant and unforgettable experiences for audiences, and this installation on the façade of theMART will showcase their unparalleled architectural projections and highlight the possibilities for the future of live entertainment.”
For this project, Obscura will use a first-of-its-kind projection system, featuring a new software-driven platform created by Obscura that will enable theMART’s curatorial team to create an ongoing exhibition of art to ensure the nightly illuminations stay fresh, timely and engaging. This system’s state-of-the-art features include:
- Mapping Technique:A 3D model of theMART, which was created to account for the building’s architectural features, and then re-created in software to ensure the imaging aligns seamlessly.
- Projection Technique:3D architectural mapping is generated through three channels. Two channels have 16 projectors and the third has two projectors – all stacked together to increase brightness. Each channel is then blended together to create a perfect image.
- Projection Display:A total of 34 Christie Digital Boxer 4K30 30,000 lumen projectors, resulting in over one million lumens projected onto the building’s façade.
“theMART’s gift to the city is a transformative public art platform distinguished by its unparalleled scale and long-term potential,” said Cynthia Noble, Executive Director, Art on theMART. “The inaugural set of projections, with the high caliber of artists, range of subjects and technological innovation by Obscura Digital, signals limitless opportunities for artists and cultural organizations to engage audiences from Chicago and around the world.”
About Obscura Digital
Obscura Digital is a creative studio located in the Dogpatch District of San Francisco, CA. Combining innovative technology with creative expression, Obscura designs and develops immersive, interactive digital art installations and experiences around the world. Obscura works with Fortune 100 companies, cultural dignitaries, and global foundations to communicate transformative messages using original content for emerging technologies. Obscura specializes in custom video content, large scale interactive displays, architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, stage shows, and projection mapping that turns nearly any surface into a video screen.
About The Madison Square Garden Company
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; The Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL) and the New York Liberty (WNBA); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, The Stanton Social, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com.
theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in culture, art, business, fashion, media and more. As the largest privately held commercial building in the United States, it is one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and showrooms, theMART serves as a business hub for interior designers, architects, contractors, business owners and buyers, and recently has become home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies including Motorola Mobility, 1871, Yelp, PayPal and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies Conagra, Allstate, Kellogg, Beam Suntory, Grainger and Caterpillar.