ROGERS PARK — When artist Jorge Manes Rubio traveled around the world, visiting places like China, Thailand and Morocco, he became enthralled by the bustle of the countries' night-time street vendors.
He captured video and photographs of the street scenes: a man on a blue-green motorcycle in China, techno music thumping from a karaoke night club across the street; a series of red umbrellas hovering above barrels of vegetables and fruits on China sidewalk; a husky street vendor packed in among boxes of spices at a street stall in Morocco.
Beginning Wednesday, the Roman Susan Art Gallery at 1224 W. Loyola Ave. will project the scenes onto its storefront as its next showing in a series of interactive exhibits.
Rubio, a 29-year-old native of Spain who works from his studio in Amsterdam, imagines Chicagoans strolling home after a few beers with friends, "coming around the corner and bam, you’re transported to a spice market in Morocco," he said in a interview via Skype with DNAinfo Chicago.
"I’m curious and excited to see the reaction of the neighbors," he said.
Rubio said when exploring other countries, he was fascinated by the "basic and human interaction" found at the lit-up markets that aren't typically found in the United States.
"I realized that these places are not only about the food they provide," he said. "I started seeing them more as light — somehow they were providing a service to the community that was going beyond food."
So far, Rubio's street vendor projections have been featured in museums and art exhibitions, but usually only as a series of photographs.
"For every project, we’re sort of looking for an angle to engage the neighborhood in what we’re doing," said Nathan Smith, who helps run Roman Susan. "This one happens to flow out in the street."
Smith said the exhibit would cycle through different scenes, repeating every 18 minutes from sundown to sunup. He said the gallery won't project the sound outside at overnight.
Neighbors can catch a glimpse of the exhibit from the sidewalk outside the gallery, no appointment necessary, through July 5.
During a recent test of the projected exhibit, Smith said, passers-by stopped to check out the lively scenes on a typically quite street.
"People just rolled up and started talking to us about it," he said.
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