150 Media Stream Multimedia Art Installation Opens in Chicago

Structure designed by McCann Systems, in cooperation with Digital Kitchen, and constructed in front of Goettsch Partners-designed building.

A new media installation has opened to the public on April 21 at 150 North Riverside, the award-winning 54-story office tower located along the Chicago River between Randolph and Lake Streets in the West Loop.

“150 Media Stream represents an interesting convergence of art, architecture, and technology, and we believe it celebrates the transformational experience of media art,” said Yuge Zhou, creative director at Riverside Investment & Development, the building’s developer, which commissioned 150 Media Stream. Working closely with Riverside was the architectural firm Goettsch Partners, who were responsible for the building and lobby design.

The installation, divided into 89 LED blades, staggered in height and width, that are 150 feet long and 22 feet high, showcases commissioned works from distinguished artists and from students whose collaborative projects were done in classes sponsored by Riverside. Partnering cultural and educational institutions also provided creative material.

“Fundamentally, our role as developers is to create dynamic and interesting spaces with a strong sense of place for our tenants, enhancing their ability to recruit and retain talent and operate their businesses more effectively,” said Anthony Scacco, executive vice president at Riverside. “At the outset of this process, we were focused on creating an exciting arts and cultural experience within the building, as opposed to developing an exhibition which contained any type of commercial or 'infotainment' content. We believe this sets 150 Media Stream apart from other installations, and has led us to some outstanding partnerships with most of the key cultural institutions in Chicago.”

The first of many prominent artists to be featured on 150 Media Stream will be Chicago-based new media artist Jason Salavon, whose artwork has been included in major public and private collections.

Salavon said that he had never created such a large-scale work before, with this degree of site specificity, unique configuration of its display system and audience constituency. “The opportunity to explore these aspects of this project was intriguing. There is no other video wall in the world that looks like this one,” he said.

The 150 Media Stream’s display concept and physical structure were designed and constructed by McCann Systems, in cooperation with the media firm Digital Kitchen. McCann Systems is renowned for bringing outside-of-the-box ideas to life and manufactured custom video components exclusively for this art installation. Leviathan, a Chicago-based specialized creative agency, produced the initial artistic content and the content delivery system. “We set out to build a flexible, intelligent system of endless digital content that would make 150 Media Stream look exceptional, every moment of every day,” said Jason White, executive creative director of Leviathan.

Zhou, who curated the project, said that “by commissioning a variety of changing projects for a uniquely configured permanent display, 150 Media Stream sets a fresh direction for public art. It’s an interesting canvas for media artists, but also for such cultural practitioners as designers, filmmakers, and others. It is a site where all kinds of media practice can share a stage and coexist.”