Modern digital technology offers attractive new ways to blend art with the delivery of information, and few environments take better advantage of this opportunity than New York’s subway system.  Winning a prestigious award for those efforts is an added and welcome bonus.

The MTA’s Digital Arts Program was created with an eye towards engaging subway riders with dynamic artworks that make them pause and smile, and spark the imaginations of millions.  At Digital Signage Expo 2018, the program and one of the artists who brings the program to life were rewarded when “The Fluid,” took home the Bronze in the Transportation category at the APEX Awards ceremony held recently in Las Vegas.

The DSE Apex Awards are designed to recognize and honor achievement in the installation of digital displays and interactive technology and the creation of compelling viewer content. “The Fluid” was one of ten entries submitted in the Transportation category.

Created by Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist Chris Doyle, “The Fluid” focuses on the rhythmic aspects of water at every scale, from phase change to the global water cycle, and the fragility of that cycle.  Presented as a constant flow, the piece drifts between forms of representation and abstraction to mirror the tidal motion of daily commuters passing through Fulton Center, the busy Lower Manhattan subway hub served by the 2 3 4 5 A C and J lines.

“Dynamic Digital Art provides customers walking through your space with a break from the clutter and noise of traditional messaging,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, Director of Corporate Initiatives.  “We’re still looking to display the right content at the right time on the right screen but instead of a call to action or a warning, we want our customers to take a moment from the hustle and bustle to take in the imagery,” added Fleuranges.

With its stylized depictions of landscape, the piece weaves together references to contemporaneous Hudson River and Japanese Edo paintings, 20th century abstraction, as well as our complex relationship with water, through its stylized depictions of landscape. The piece is displayed on the 52-channel digital signage network at the Fulton Center Transit Hub, managed by Westfield Properties.

The Westfield Fulton Center network synchronizes 44 LCD video walls, totaling more than 1,200 square feet and nine locations of LED, totaling more than 2,100 square feet. The complex media network plays in one and two-minute loops, offering news feeds, sports, weather, advertising, transit information and digital art. “The Fluid” plays for two minutes at the top of every hour, and is presented with technical support from Westfield Properties and ANC Sports.

“The Fluid is indicative of the art we’ve brought to the Fulton Center digital signage network since 2014,” said Yaling Chen, Deputy Director of MTA Arts & Design. “It’s lively, colorful and we hope that it stays with customers long after they’ve seen it,” she added.

This is the third APEX Award for the Digital Arts Program curated by MTA Arts & Design, which oversees the selection of artists and the installation of permanent and digital artworks and poetry in MTA subway and commuter rail stations. While the program is currently confined to the Fulton Center network, Arts & Design is poised for an expansion.

“As the MTA’s station advertising program shifts to dynamic digital screens, the potential is there to showcase more digital artists to the delight of customers,” said Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design. “New media is an exciting way to connect to the City and engage customers with eye-catching, moving artwork that appeals to and reaches today’s riders as they traverse the system,” added Bloodworth.

Through the Digital Arts Program, MTA Arts & Design works with new digital artists to produce art that engages customers in an immediate way, through a piece that makes them pause and smile or one that inspires a thought that stays with them along their journey.

View a video of “The Fluid” a DSE 2018 APEX award winner, can be found here: youtube.com

About MTA Arts & Design

MTA Arts & Design, formerly known as MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design, encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. In November 2014, Arts & Design launched the Digital Arts program that feature works of contemporary new media artists throughout MTA’s digital media network.  The Percent for Art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in the world, with more than 300 works by world-famous, mid-career and emerging artists. Arts & Design produces photography installations as well as graphic arts and live musical performances in stations, and the Poetry in Motion program in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America. It serves the more than eight million people who ride MTA subways and commuter trains daily and strives to create meaningful connections between sites, neighborhoods, and people. For more information, please visit mta.info/art.