Public Notice 3

LED bulbs, wires, rubber


Public Notice 3 opened at the Grand Staircase of Art Institute of Chicago on September 11, 2010. Rendered on the risers of the stairs is a historic speech delivered by the young Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda on September 11, 1893 as he represented Hinduism at the World Parliament of Religions. Vivekananda addressed his audience at the very same location where the work was installed,as the Grand Staircase in 1893 was the auditorium where the parliament took place.

Delivered exactly 108 years before ‘9/11’ on a date that would become synonymous with religious fanaticism and terror, Vivekananda’s speech called for an end to fundamentalism, intolerance and bigotry. Public Notice 3 illuminated his words in LED bulbs on the risers of the Grand Staircase in five alternating colors—red, orange, yellow, blue and green. The colours were borrowed from a post-9/11 advisory of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security where they formed a spectrum denoting terrorism threat levels—red for severe, green for low. Through this ironic juxtaposition, Public Notice 3 retrieved a century-old text for a changed world, where its message of tolerance could still hold out hope for those lost for words in the descending darkness of hate and suspicion.