‘Cities & The Sky’ for 150 Media Stream

Submitted by Sean Capone

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Client: 150 Media Stream

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Lead Artist, Director

Sean Capone

Sean Capone Studio

Client

150 Media Stream

150 N. Riverside Drive Plaza

Overview

Cities & The Sky is a digitally animated landscape mural commissioned for 150 Media Stream’s architectural video wall. Located at 150 North Riverside Plaza in Chicago, the 150 Media Stream is the only structure of its kind dedicated to showcasing Chicago artists, culture and history alongside renowned and emerging artists from around the world.
‘Cities & The Sky’ depicts a slowly evolving animated abstract terrain which evokes the dynamics of landscape painting, the pop graphics of mural art, and the visual lyricism of cinematic abstraction. The unique design of the screen’s LED “blades” reflects the architectural fabric of the building and the Chicago skyline itself.

Goals

150 Media Stream is a unique project that fuses art, technology, and architecture in one experiential space. It is also unique, in terms of urban LED signage, for its sole dedication to exhibiting custom video art and cultural material, totally free from commercial content or advertising of any kind. The commissioning of original media artwork for this screen has been the heart, soul and purpose of the 150 Media Stream platform.

Process

This project was designed and executed over the course of two weeks while in residence at the 150 N. Riverside Plaza building, and developed in close coordination with the project's chief curator Yuge Zhou.
As an animation artist used to working at smaller scales and creating work for contiguous screen surfaces, I was concerned about the fragmentation of the screen's LED "blades", each of which are designed at different heights and scales. Furthermore, the enormous panoramic scale of the screen meant that the viewer's attention would be constantly diverted and drawn to different moments across multiple perspectives as they moved through the space. So, there were three essential dynamics at play: the scale of the surface imagery, the sculptural qualities of the screen as a series of discrete objects, and the narrative aspects of the imagery as it developed across time and in different points in the physical space. For these reasons -- and because it simply seemed to look best -- I decided against finely detailed imagery or addressing each blade individually, opting instead for larger fields of graphic color and macro/micro scale which evoked a vast cloudlike landscape or ocean, with architectural elements appearing discretely throughout.