Professor’s Interactive Installation in Rail Trail Festival

rendering of Covid Confessionals
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Rachel Dickey has created "Covid Confessionals" for SouthEnd light rail stop.

An interactive installation by Assistant Professor of Architecture Rachel Dickey with architecture alumna Noushin Radnia has been chosen for the “I Heart Rail Trail: Lights 2021” festival through a competition sponsored by Charlotte Center City Partners. The festival will present five public art light installations at light rail stations in SouthEnd and will run February 19-March 7.

Dickey’s installation of “Covid Confessionals” is a set of circular pods, each with a radius of six feet, defined by iridescent curved walls that vary in height from four to eight feet. These curved plastic walls, supported by a metal hexagonal frame, create individual room-sized “face shields” that space visitors at distances of six feet or more.

drawing of Covid Confessional

At the center of each circular “Covid Confessional,” motion-sensor lighting will activate the clear plastic walls, made iridescent by a dichoric film, and illuminate a social distancing grid painted on the ground. As a passerby steps on the interactive lights, a field of light will dynamically bounce off the shields to encourage physically distanced interaction and play. Spotlights attached to the support structure will offer additional illumination.

rendering Covid Confessional

“Covid Confessionals” was fabricated on campus in Storrs building and will be installed at the Atherton Plaza light rail stop. It is the latest of several interactive public art works by Dickey. See more at Studio Dickey.

I Heart Rail Trail also includes installations by UNC Charlotte art alumna Sharon Dowell and by staff member Kit Kube, an installer for the College of Arts + Architecture galleries.