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Alon Chitayat and Jeff Ong's - Subway Stories

Alon Chitayat and Jeff Ong's - Subway Stories

 Alon Chitayat left - Jeff Ong right Creators of  'Subway Stories'

Alon Chitayat left - Jeff Ong right Creators of  'Subway Stories'

Well, it seems we've had interactive brilliance staring us in face this whole time and somehow it's only now being surfaced to FLBL. Without further adieu ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce, 'Subway Stories', an interactive video installation created by Alon Chitayat (pronounced Chit-a-yat) and Jeff Ong! 

There is lots to cover and I am very excited to feature this, so let's get Started!

As New Yorker's, we all at some point (if not everyday) take a NYC subway somewhere, so you should have no problem relating to this experience. Clearly I'm not just talking for myself when I say, that we've all wondered what are people thinking during their ride? What is it that people occupying their time with? What random succession of thoughts are zipping in and out of their heads?

Here is where 'Subway Stories' comes in. "We wanted to recreate that scenario, turning it into more of an immersive environment where a user can explore peoples thoughts, and really getting into their minds instead of what we usually project" - says Jeff.

Alon goes on to explain the process: The subjects are sketched on his daily commute to school, making illustration versions of people he sees on the train. He then shows these sketches to his friends, and asks them what they would be thinking if they were in that persons shoes, as he proceeds to record their responses. He coined this process 'second hand representation', because  secondary participants are vocalizing the potential thoughts of the sketchee. 


Here's how the project works:

A user approaches the the installation and puts on a pair of headphones, directing their attention to a screen ahead. 

The user then operates two handles, which are identical in design to the conductors operating device. One lever zooms into riders and their thoughts, as the other controls the speed allowing  easily maneuverability between cars.

The Goal of the installation is to have its users get lost in the stories of it's riders, forgetting that they're actually using a machine. To achieve that experience, the stories and thoughts are spoken in first person, as if the user is straight listening to a riders unabridged thoughts. 

The projects origin dates back to 2005, when Alon started sketching during his daily subway commutes to and from school. But it really wasn't until joining ITP (an NYU division of TISCH program of the arts), a few years later that he meet fellow student Jeff Ong, unitedly bringing the project to life. 

Intrigued yet? So am I! 

Come see 'Subway Stories' live and in action, at the upcoming 'For Locals By Locals' xi event, March 18th at Mister Rogers, Crown Heights. Doors open at 8pm. 

For a more in-depth understanding of their installation, I recommend listening to our audio interview posted below, we get deep into conversation about the project and its Artist's background.

Article by Avi Werde  - Photos by Ruvi Leider Photography

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