|Alon Chitayat,Jeff Ong
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Blending physical interface with hand-drawn illustration and generative graphics, the project invites users to reconsider the daily act of commuting—exploring the thoughts, sounds, and inner lives of our temporary neighbors.
Jeff Ong, Author.
Fascinated by the lack of interpersonal communication on his daily subway commute, Alon Chitayat began creating hand-drawn sketches of the people around him while imagining what they might be thinking. Together with Jeff Ong, he turned these sketches into Subway Stories, an interactive art installation. Users put on headphones and watch a screen where sketches of subway cars and their riders are projected. Using two handles on the box in front of them—a replica of subway operators’ controls—users can focus in on specific riders or move between subway cars.
When users zoom into one rider, they hear that character’s imagined inner monologue; they can move through cars at their own pace and choose which stories they’d like to listen to. To create the inner monologues, Chitayat and Ong showed the sketches to their friends, who were then asked to speak the thoughts of the illustrated people in a stream of consciousness first-person style. Chitayat calls this process “second-hand representation.” Subway Stories offers an interactive glimpse into the minds and lives of the people around us, and suggests many opportunities for further collaboration and cocreation.