Light Rail Installation To Celebrate 40 Years of BART

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Illuminate the Arts, the same organization that created The Bay Lights — the light installation described by artist Leo Villareal as a “digital campfire” on the Bay Bridge — has announced its newest project, which is already pushing to reach a similar scope of funding and visibility as its predecessor.

Light Rail is described as “the world’s first subway-responsive light sculpture,” and features two LED strings above ground on Market Street that glow at the speed of BART trains passing underground. The project intends to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BART and the 100th anniversary of MUNI, while also “revitalizing” Market Street from Van Ness Avenue to The Embarcadero.  It was proposed by two San Francisco-based artists, Stefano Corazza and George Zisiadis, who were also behind the “Mistletoe Drone” that flew over Union Square last December.

The renderings of the project show a laser zooming down the street at a similar height as the overhead public transport cables. It's difficult to see it gaining as much support as the installation on the Bay Bridge, which takes in cues from the environment to display patterns of light. Light Rail seems more dimensional, as it only requires a coordinated lighting system with BART and perhaps some warnings to drivers not to be alarmed at train-speed lasers flying up and down the road.

Light Rail will begin as a temporary installation, but Ben Davis, the founder, president, and CEO of Illuminate The Arts, told SF Weekly that he hopes to make both The Bay Lights and Light Rail permanent pieces. The Bay Lights was originally intended to end in 2015, but a current fundraising campaign to raise an extra $4 million by December 31 would lengthen the installation's stay by ten years if successful. As of October 22, SF Gate reported the total for this round of fundraising was $336,469. There is no launch date yet for the Light Rail project, but Zisiadis’ website says to expect the work to light up in early 2015. 

Learn more about the project and donate to Illuminate the Arts here



Light Rail isn’t the first project coming from Illuminate the Arts since The Bay Lights switched on in 2013. The organization that originally came together around the Bay Lights project has also since given us a public video projection called Let There Be and a project involving sky-writing the digits of pi called Pi In The Sky.

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