Project Cabrini Green


Project Cabrini Green, Mar 29, 2011
Image courtesy of Jan Tichy


Beginning on the evening of March 28, two nights before the last high-rise building at Cabrini-Green (1230 N. Burling Street) is demolished, a four-week public art installation, in the form of 134 LED lights, illuminates each apartment in the building. The live-feed footage is projected at the MCA showing both the wreckage during the day and the light installation at night. As the building is razed, the installation is also demolished.

Project Cabrini Green is a community-based art project conceived by artist and educator Jan Tichy, who collaborated with more than 200 individuals, including students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and local youth from Cabrini Connections; Marwen; After School Matters; and ThaBrigade Stamps Cabrini-Green Marching Band. In workshops organized by Tichy, the students and youth participants discussed the concepts of home, community, public housing, and demolition and were introduced to public art and light art. They then wrote, performed, and recorded poems and texts based on these discussions. Using a computer program developed by SAIC students that converts sound into light, the texts were translated into unique light patterns that correspond to each of the 134 LED lights placed within the high-rise, allowing the participants to “tell” their stories through light.

A voice- and light-activated model of the last Cabrini high-rise accompanies the MCA installation. The participants’ written texts and recordings and additional information about the project can be found at the project’s website.

This exhibition is organized by MCA Associate Curator Tricia Van Eck.