Show Your Stripes is a series of glowing vertical stripes arranged on the side of a building, created by artist Jim Conti. Few locals know that this light art installation in San Jose is completely interactive, and anyone walking by can participate. All you need to do is wait for it to activate at sundown, call a phone number and enter a 3 digit code to change the colors.
Here’s how to do it:
- Call (408) 287-0128
- After the tone, enter any 3-digit combination from 1-9
- Press “0” (zero), and hang up
- Watch the colors change!
There’s a handy document of codes available, which correspond to color names like “On Fire,” “Water Works,” and “Purple Moonshine,” as well as more mysterious ones like “Jerry,” “98,” and “All Ears.” The San Jose Blog writes that there are also some secret codes like *14, *25, *69, *88, ***, and *#*. Keep in mind that not all codes are programmed, so if one doesn’t work, try another one.
Artist Jim Conti was inspired by the phrase “show your stripes,” which is often associated with “showing what you’re made of.” Stripes have had negative connotations throughout history, relegated to characters like jesters, jugglers, courtesans, and even the devil. As stripes have taken on a more positive meaning in contemporary history, Conti’s work is a representation of how “showing your stripes” can be a special and affirmative thing to do.
Show Your Stripes first debuted in 2008 with 128 possible combinations. In 2015, Conti later revamped it with 318 total codes for the city’s “Illuminating Downtown Project.” The codes and color combinations were created with community input, so some of them have to do with someone’s favorite song or color, or an inside joke.
Find Show Your Stripes at the corner of 2nd and San Fernando Streets in San Jose, attached to a building called The 88. The address is 88 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95113.
Featured image: Photos via City of San Jose