GIF by Becky Chung. Images courtesy NO AD
Gritty New York subway stations littered with movie posters, product shoutouts, and Seamless advertisements are about as far removed from pristine gallery spaces as it gets. But with NO AD, an augmented reality app by Re+Public, the commercial messages plastered on these public walls get replaced with digital art.
The current exhibition, Bob-omb, which was designed and curated for the commuter crowd by RJ Rushmore of Vandalog, consists of 39 GIF artworks by 13 artists and collectives. “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,” says Rushmore, who wanted to expand the experience of GIF art beyond the computer screen, and to challenge viewers to think differently about public space and street art with everything from from kaleidoscopic portals to images of burning colosseums.
Re+Public is a collaboration between PublicAdCampaign, The Heavy Projects, The Subway Art Blog. As with past projects that fused activism with technology and art, with NO AD, they hoped to bring a digital public space to life. Jordan Seiler who heads up PublicAdCampaign says: “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.” By “hijacking” these walls, Re+Public creates a new kind of exhibition space that exists on a virtual plane,
At the heart of it all, NO AD’s goal is simple: “I just want people to crack a smile and have a slightly less shitty commute,” Rushmore explains.