A morning commute in New York City can often feel like trying to browse the web in the days before AdBlocker—bright, ugly advertisements vie for your attention—a visual cacophony that can quickly become a headache. Technical interface outfit The Heavy Projects—working with PublicAdCampaign and Jowy Romano, creator of Subway Art Blog—have united under the umbrella RE+PUBLIC to address this problem in an effort not unlike the plot of cult classic horror flick They Live.
The solution: an augmented reality app called NO AD, which can recognize subway advertisements, block them out, and replace them with curated digital art. "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," RE+PUBLIC writes in a press release. The group's goal is "to remedy this imbalance by using the preexisting advertising infrastructure as a new digital exhibition space." A new layer of carefully curated art will "bring a rich variety of cultural content to users and integrate itself into your daily commute," the anti-advert vigilantes claim.
Works from artists like Jilly Ballistic and Faith 47 will replace the top 100 ads throughout the various commuter paths within NYC. The artwork will update weekly, offering subway riders an ever-evolving digital art gallery while also possibly combating the effects of constant ad exposure.
As an app limited to smartphones and tablets, NO AD won't be able to physically replace advertisements with art pieces. However, as some technology like Google Glass and Oculus Rift make ubiquitous consumer augmented reality a possibility, NO AD could become the legitimate heir to the AdBlocker throne.