The NO AD mobile app replaces the top 100 NYC subway ads with digital art using augmented reality technology. In doing so, the app creates a new exhibition space on top of existing subway advertising infrastructure.
New York City has one of the largest and most robust transit networks in the world with a subway system spanning 468 stations throughout the five boroughs. On average, there are over 4 million daily rides, making the subway system by far the most used form of transit in New York City. Littered throughout almost every station is a repetition of movie, television, product, and alcohol ads, which take advantage of NY’s immense captive transit audience and turn our daily commute into one long commercial for the latest products and commercial ideas. For a city that prides itself on being a leading cultural center, and despite the valiant efforts of our MTA arts programming, New York City subways seem to lack a cultural richness befitting this great metropolis.
NO AD, created by Re+Public (PublicAdCampaign + The Heavy Projects) in collaboration with The SubwayArtBlog, aims to remedy this imbalance by using the preexisting advertising infrastructure as a new digital exhibition space. Users are encouraged to download the free iOS or Android app to their smart devices. Once the app is running, simply pointing your device at any of the 100 most widely circulating subway platform advertisements will cause the device to overlay curated digital art content, creating an augmented experience that blocks unwanted advertising. (See below for the specific subway platform advertising format NO AD works on)
Because the advertising is constantly changing in the subways, so too will the content users see through the app. Each week NO AD will auto update itself, replacing the new advertisements with new content. In an effort to keep the user experience fresh, we will collaborate with cultural institutions to drastically alter the nature of the content offered, from street art, to photography, to music, poetry, and moving images, you can expect the NO AD app to continually provide fresh content.
We intend NO AD to bring a rich variety of cultural content to users and integrate itself into your daily commute. It is, however, not by chance that we do this using the preexisting advertising infrastructure. Overexposure to commercial has been linked to our behavior and psyche, with studies suggesting “…that advertising may be encouraging society to save less, borrow more, work harder and consume greater quantities of material goods.” This behavior in turn puts an unnecessary burden on our environment and ourselves as we forgo experiences for material obsession. We see NO AD as a precursor to a viable physical ad blocking software that, used in conjunction with soon to be available heads up display technologies, will drastically alter our relationship to visual imagery in our shared public spaces.
Re+Public (PublicAdCampaign + The Heavy Projects)
Subway Art Blog