Spring 2017, Public Light and Space, Prof. Jan Tichy.
Installation, Photograph compliments of Public Light and Space class, 2017.
Signified is a renegade light installation inspired by the sign vernacular of Chicago. Letterboards act as marquees and restaurant menus. They are an effective means of communication. The project was installed on a rubble-strewn vacant lot where the fire-ravaged half of Nuevo Leon, a popular Mexican restaurant, stood. The proposal is comprised of a handcrafted letterboard recalling the restaurant heritage of the site while the available spectrum of letters reflect the different cultures that have inhabited the area, English, Czech, and Spanish.
The site is significant for this project because the ruin of the building launched casual conversations through the neighborhood which lead to unsubstantiated speculation about the site, but more broadly, it lead to neighborly cohesion as people recounted their version of the narrative. Graffiti in the lot sets a precedent for conversation on the lot.
Signified invites neighbors to participate in the conversation in anylanguage they feel most comfortable in. The easy access of the site and the sign give people a new means of communication and easy method of participation. After pressing the attached button, participants can turn on the light which will project for 5 seconds, echoing the ephemeral communication methods of the era.