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The budding arts destination Silent Funny is inconspicuous along a quiet stretch of West Humboldt Park. Its facade is one of a succession of industrial garage doors. But inside, the raw 5,000-square-foot warehouse appears to pulse rhythmically along with the ebb and flow of “Refractions,” an exhibit of water-and-light installations by Luftwerk, the artist duo of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero.

In one section of the warehouse is Drop, a single drop of water that falls onto a suspended plate of glass every two seconds, projecting ripples around the room. In another part of the space Luftwerk brings indoors a piece that was originally created to be experienced outdoors. In this version, called Flow, a video of geometric patterns—visual representations of microscopic organisms in the Chicago River—is projected through a screen of cascading water. The patterns pulse through the room, constantly shifting the space for an effect that’s as disorienting as it is mesmerizing.

Left: Drop; Right: Flow

Silent Funny itself is a space that’s been in flux since its opening in December 2014. The control creative directors Matthew Baron and Daniel Schor have over their sizable, off-the-beaten-path venue allows them to program arts events outside the parameters of more established institutions. “Intentionally, we’re trying not to program extremely far out, because each show and installation shapes the direction we want to take the space,” Baron says. “There’s no preconceived notion about what needs to be in here. It’s more fun than having a game plan.”

“We envisioned a blank slate,” Schor says. “Each artist could come in and take ownership over the space and feel like they’re isolated in their own little world so they can immerse themselves in it.” Silent Funny offers a type of residency experience in which an artist works in the space during the lead-up to his or her show. Each artist is also invited to leave a piece of work behind as a hallmark, Schor says, “so we’ll be crafting a living museum of what’s happened over the period of time we’re here.”

The closing reception for “Refractions” is Friday, May 29, from 6 to 8 PM, followed by a performance of improvised music by Dave Rempis, Josh Abrams, and Avreeayl Ra. Silent Funny is at 4106 W. Chicago,

Inside Silent Funny