Psychedelic lights yield to Web-driven imagination Old Town's Pipers Alley at 210 W. North, once filled with mind-expanding head shops, psychedelic lights and black-light posters, now houses "The Imagination Environment," an 8-by-4-foot technology performance art exhibit.
It features an array of nine flat-screen monitors mounted behind a plexiglas shield. The center screen plays a continuous feed of Fox News. Taking the news reader's words from the closed-caption feed, the exhibit connects to Internet search engines. Pictorial search results are visualized in real time on the remaining screens. The display can be truly mind blowing.
"Because it uses search engines, sometimes the images are on point. Sometimes they are enlightening. Sometimes they are just bizarre," says Kris Hammond, director of Northwestern University's Intelligent Information Laboratory, which created the exhibit along with Second City and Northwestern's Program in Network Arts.