Greg Roberts' WonderWindow is a context-shattering illusion that transforms an ordinary building facade into a massive, electrified public art canvas. Roberts crafts this magic by taking an ordinary window grid and placing a computer controlled, variable color light array behind each and every window -- in effect morphing each window into a single pixel of a massive video display. The entire building facade becomes one gigantic movie screen, controlled and managed in real time by the WonderWindow Control Centre. The resulting full color video show makes a jumbotron look like a child's toy.

But if scale is the trick, the real treat is the public nature of the art. Through a variety of open interfaces, the public is invited and encouraged to contribute, and in fact drive, the programming. Content interfaces for the WonderWindow include:

  • live video feeds from local public webcams
  • text messages submitted via public website and cellphone SMS.
  • user-created animations and text messages submitted via website
Publicly submitted content is put through a manual screening process. Upon approval, the citizen-cum-artist is sent a secret passcode. During "open play" windows, anyone with a code and a telephone can dial up the WonderWindow Control Centre, punch in their passcode, and see their message or animation played out right there and then. Imagine: what a way to profess your love, or indeed, to propose marriage!

The icing on the cake is the WonderWindow Arcade: a small but potent library of classic videogames that have been specially adapted to the building's particular display resolution. Imagine playing Pong, Tetris, and Breakout -- using your cellphone as the controller -- live for the world to see on a 220' high video screen. With WonderWindow, this seemingly impossible act becomes a reality... and in that moment the citizen is transformed, from quaint pedestrian into performance artist.

In addition to the clear cultural benefit to the metropolitan population, there are many ancillary benefits for an art project of this nature as well. An installation of this type has been executed in just three cities to date: Tokyo, Berlin, and Paris.

Let's add Atlanta to that list. This project, properly publicized, has the potential to put Atlantic Station on the map as an international landmark, and to bring Atlanta the positive international media attention it has not seen since the 1996 Olympics.

Public art funding is currently being raised to fund the installation and maintenance of WonderWindow at Atlantic Station. In addition to cash grants, in kind donations are also being sought. Large line items include lighting fixtures, bulk wiring (both electrical and network cable), and computer hardware (servers, routers, hubs, and data projectors). The vast majority of labor will be drawn from volunteers from the student bodies of local colleges and universities, to which Roberts maintains solid ties.

Greg Roberts is a cutting edge robokinetic artist, as well as a seasoned software entrepreneur who has successfully founded and sold two companies. His works all center around the common theme of play, specifically play that challenges context: turning buildings into videogame screens, walls into living sculptures, and floors into virtual playgrounds. Key elements of his installations include a dash of surprise(!) and a subtle yet powerful real-time responsiveness to the local environment that makes them more living mirrors than static objects.

This project is dedicated to the People and the City of Atlanta

    we may not know it, but we are all artists
    each and every one of us has within us the innate ability
    to create wondrous beauty

    our intent is to provide the canvas
    so that these dreams might find a stage
    upon which to play

WonderWindow Atlanta is set to light up Atlantic Station for Spring/Summer 2004. To contribute to the project, to volunteer, or for more information, please contact:


greg roberts' wonderwindow 2004