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Turn The Subway Into A Digital Gallery With Your Smartphone

A group of NYC creatives are replacing boring subway ads with eye-catching GIFs.

What if billboards didn’t have to be boring? This is one of the central questions posed by NO AD, an augmented reality app by Re+Public that “replaces” static subway signs with moving, digital art when activated. Recently Re+Public (an ongoing collaboration between PublicAdCampaign, The Heavy Projects, and The Subway Art Blog) turned the entire NYC subway system into a makeshift gallery with a digital exhibition of 39 GIF artworks, viewable only by smartphone. Called Bob-omb, the exhibit features some of the most influential names in GIF-able moving imagery, including Caitlin Burns, James Kerr – Scorpion Dagger, Molly Soda and Zack Dougherty. Masterminded by RJ Rushmore of Vandalog, the project is about re-imagining the potential for art in public spaces. “I'm excited to do a project where viewers aren't just thinking about the art, they're also thinking about the way it's displayed,” Rushmore recently told The Creators Project.

Jordan Seiler, who manages PublicAdCampaign, thinks the exhibit will have broad implications for the future of design and technology: “Ultimately NO AD is about replacing the glut of commercial messages in public space with more productive imagery, understanding that wearables will make NO AD a viable real world ad blocker in the not too distant future.”

Though the exhibition holds promise for the future of public art, Rushmore’s goals are fairly modest: “I just want people to crack a smile and have a slightly less shitty commute.”

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