CTA Unveils Interactive Artwork at Damen Blue Line

April 6, 2018

New Artwork Concludes Station Improvement Work Performed Through Mayor Emanuel’s Historic Your New Blue O’Hare Branch Modernization Project

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today unveiled new, interactive public artwork at the Damen Blue Line station, the latest CTA station to receive unique artwork as part of Mayor Emanuel’s initiative to expand public art across CTA bus and rail facilities throughout the City of Chicago.

“By incorporating creative artwork into our CTA stations, we are elevating the experience of Chicago’s world-class transit system,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This new installation reflects the neighborhood’s vibrancy and creative spirit and is a fitting finish to this historic station modernization.”

Commissioned by the award-winning artist team of Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, the new one-of-a-kind artwork at Damen serves as the finishing touch to a major station renovation in 2014 as part of the historic $492 million Your New Blue (YNB) O’Hare branch modernization project.

The artwork, known as Soundtrack, is installed on the north side of the track structure and visible from Damen Avenue, includes LED color panels that create patterns of light, activated by sound as well as vibrations caused by moving trains, cars and riders walking along the station platform. The artwork contains sensors that “read” the vibrations and translate them into the lighted patterns.

“Artwork at CTA stations is intended to be reflective of the communities they serve, and the new artwork at Damen literally captures the vibe of this lively community,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said. “The addition of this impressive, interactive artwork to CTA’s permanent collection of public art is truly exciting, and I encourage Chicagoans to come see and experience this living artwork for themselves.”

Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel, CTA’s collection of public art has nearly doubled since 2011 to nearly 70 works of art across all eight rail lines. It includes mosaics, art glass and sculptures created by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, many of whom are local. Over the next few years, CTA’s public art collection will further expand to include an additional nine new works of art.

Constructed in 1895, the Damen Station underwent a $13.6 million stationhouse and platform rehabilitation as part of Your New Blue that modernized and expanded the station.

Mayor Emanuel and CTA in 2013 announced Your New Blue, the most ambitious service improvement project on the Blue Line since it was extended to O'Hare Airport in 1984. The program will benefit the more than 80,000 customers who each weekday use stations along the branch, which had more than 27 million rides last year. Under this program, CTA will update a total of 14 Blue Line stations; make elevated and subway infrastructure upgrades; track signal improvements and traction power upgrades.

About the artists

Ball-Nogues Studio is an integrated design and fabrication practice in Los Angeles, California.  Led by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, the Studio operates at the intersection of architecture, art and industrial design.

The team integrates concept and fabrication to create visual spectacles that encourage the public to more actively engage their surroundings. They have completed more than 30 commissions for permanent or temporary artworks including Los Angeles International Airport, Coachella Valley Music Festival, and have exhibited at the Venice Biennale; Museum of Modern Art ; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary, Los Angeles and  Los Angeles County Museum of Art,

Ball-Nogues Studio has received numerous honors including three American Institute of Architects Design Awards, United States Artists Target Fellowships and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. In 2007, the Studio was the winner of the Museum of Modern Art PS1 Young Architects Program Competition.

Benjamin Ball earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture and studied at the Shibaura Institute of Technology - Tokyo.

Gaston Nogues, a native of Argentina, earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture, and between 1994 and 2005, he supervised product design and fabrication at Gehry Partners (the atelier of architect Frank Gehry).

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