New York is a city of commuters. 5.5 million riders move through its expansive subway system on an average weekday. Advertisers take advantage of this huge, captive audience by bombarding everyone with commercial messages.
Over the years, artists have attempted to take back this public space and our attention, but the system remains full of ads. This is why we created NO AD, a mobile app available now for FREE on iOS and Android. NO AD uses augmented reality technology to replace ads with artwork in realtime through your mobile device.
I wrote this in “Lunch with Zoia,” a short short story at the start of Libraries and Archives Augmenting the World:
Zoia was meeting George at a pub a ten-minute walk from her university that was also easy to get to from George’s public library, especially when the subways were working. She enjoyed the view as she left the university: she ran Adblock Lens, which she’d customized so it disabled every possible ad on campus as well as in the bus stops and on the billboards on the city streets. Sometimes she replaced them with live content, but today she just had the blanked spaces colored softly to blend in with what was around them. No ads, just a lot of beige and brown, slightly glitchy.
It’s not my original idea, but it’s nice to see it become real.
(In my browsers I use Adblock Plus, by the way, and I configure it to block the “unobtrusive” ads too. Wonderful. When I see people using the web without an ad blocker the experience revolts me.)