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Tunnel Vision: Metro Zoetrope

"I first noticed subway tunnel wall animations in Boston, where the long gaps between stations on the MBTA Red Line provides a captive audience. The animation, composed of dozens of stills that simulated movement as the train zoomed by, was an ad. The message: visit Vermont and its great outdoors, which certainly must have resonated with more than a few claustrophobes riding the crowded rush hour rails.

Animated ads in subway tunnels are expensive, both to design and install, which helps explain why the Vermont ad's successor, a campaign for a movie 'coming to theatres' last February, was only removed recently – with no ready replacement. But the medium is a popular one, if only because it's relatively novel and rare. Examples from Budapest, Hong Kong, Kiev, L.A., Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. have been enthusiastically documented for upload to YouTube. And given that cash–strapped transit agencies have allowed almost every other subway surface to be colonized by ad space, including seats and whole exteriors of rolling stock, it was almost a logical next step.

Much of the credit for introducing these flipbook or zoetrope–like ads goes to two independent innovators: New York astrophysics student Joshua Spodek and Winnipeg animator Bradley Caruk. Spodek's ads debuted in Atlanta in 2001; his company, Sub Media, continues to produce similar ads today. In 2006, Caruk won a Manning Innovation Award for his concept, which his partner, Rob Walker, first thought up while staring at the blank walls of Paris' Metro. The company they co–founded, SideTrack Technologies, set up its first system in Kuala Lumpur and has since opened others across the United States – and beyond, to London, Rio de Janeiro, and cities in Mexico."

(Christopher Szabla, Urbanphoto, 20 November 2010)

Fig.1 Bill Brand, "Masstransiscipe" New York subway installation.
Fig.2 New ad–places in the tunnel. // Новые рекламные площади в тунеле киевского метро. Между станциями Лукьяновская и Львовская Брама
Fig.3 "Tokyo Subway Ad ", Uploaded by ivanptse on 19 Apr 2008.
Fig.4 "Target ad, on the washington D.C subway.", Uploaded by kikyobackfromthedead on 1 Sep 2006.



adad spaceanimated adanimation • Atlanta • between • blank wall • Boston • Bradley Caruk • Budapest • captive audience • creative advertisingflick bookflip bookHong Kong • Joshua Spodek • Kiev • Kuala Lumpur • linear zoetrope • LondonLos Angeles • masstransiscope • MBTA Red Line • Mexicomotion graphicsNew York subwayParis • Paris Metro • patternperceptual organisationrapid transit systemRio de Janeiro • Rob Walker • rolling stock • SideTrack Technologies • stop frame • Sub Media • subway • subway tunnel • Tokyotrainwall animationsWashington DCzoetrope


Simon Perkins
01 OCTOBER 2008

Blu fait bouger les murs

"Muto est une "animation ambiguë" de 7 minutes 26 secondes, peinte sur les murs de Buenos Aires, accompagnée par une bande son grinçante du percussionniste italien Andrea Martignoni, co–fondateur de l'inventif Laboratorio di Musica e Immagine dans les années 90. Son auteur, qui a également grandi à Bologne, porte le pseudonyme de Blu.
Blu n'utilise pas de bombes ni d'échafaudages, il rallonge les manches de ses brosses, retrousse les siennes et il peint, il efface, il recommence, se transporte, et il prend le temps de bloguer ! Blu badigeonne ainsi les murs de Berlin, Londres, Sao Paulo, Bethlehem, Vérone, Milan, Bologne, au Mexique, au Guatemala, au Nicaragua, au Costa Rica... De plus, ses sujets n'ont rien d'innocent. Ils sont sévères, critiques, incisifs et réfléchis.
Son site est un carnet de croquis dont les onglets se nomment murs, dessins, nouvelles, liens, vidéos, boutique. Blu ne perd pas le nord. S'il sait garder le contact avec un public qui le regarde travailler, il apprend à négocier avec les galeries et les musées et il commet de fantastiques films d'animation dont le support sort du cadre habituel pour investir l'espace urbain, souvent en collaboration avec d'autres artistes de la rue.
Muto, réalisé seul avec une petite caméra DV, est son dernier né. Son trait noir sur fond blanchi contraste avec les couleurs outrées des graffiteurs et s'intègre astucieusement avec les murs de la ville pour faire ressortir la narration."

(Jean–Jacques Birgé)



Simon Perkins

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