Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The App That’s Beautifying the Daily Commute

October 1, 2014
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The App That’s Beautifying the Daily Commute
NO AD is an app designed to replace the abundance of ads in the city's subways with original art. Screengrab via Vimeo
Turns out, you don't have to look at ugly advertisements every morning.

New York City subways are notoriously known for their clutter of ads pushing anything from weight loss miracles to online college courses. And since New Yorkers spend an excess of time underground traveling across the city’s seven boroughs, a new app is setting out to make that experience a little more pleasant.

NO AD is an augmented reality app designed to replace the abundance of mindless ads masking the city’s subway stations and trains with art.

“I think that overconsumption of advertising is detrimental to your mental health,” says street artist Jordan Seiler, who created the app. “Public space happens to be the only media space I can’t opt out of. I would advocate for the complete banning of advertising as a social health issue, the same way that we want to clean up toxic waste.”

Seiler enlisted 50 artists to contribute to the app, which works by opening the app and pointing the camera at the horizontal vinyl ads scattered across platforms at the city’s 468 stations.

NO AD uses feature tracking software to target which ads to filter out, excluding public health messages from the list. The campaign ran in NYC throughout the month of September and hopes to continue with other contributors from local galleries and museums. The app can be downloaded for free at app store or on Google Play.

As more people embrace the wearable market thanks to head displays like Google Glass, Seiler contends products like NO AD will become important in navigating the city’s ad-laden landscape.

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