A Lit Farewell to Chicago's Cabrini-Green

On March 28, artists Jan Tichy and Efrat Appel put 134 self-contained, battery-powered LED modules in each of Chicago high-rise housing project Cabrini-Green's 134 vacated apartments.

Cabrini-Green was a public housing project built in Chicago's near-north side in the 1940s. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the building and its development became synonymous with gang crime and public housing issues in the US.

During the project's month-long demolition, Tichy and Appel will collaborate with students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their idea: to capture reactions and voices of Chicago youth in the Cabrini-Green area and to translate those voices into visual patterns transmitted by the blinking LEDs.

The artists and students developed and instructed workshops for the young participants who were each asked to write and record poems about their experiences that they write will "enable them to reflect on social issues related to their communities."

And the lights will continue to blink every day from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. until the end of April -- gradually disappearing as the building is razed.

A live-feed of the demolition is showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, along with a voice/light-activated model of the high-rise. You can see video, audio, and visual components of the project on the Cabrini Green Project website.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >