“Subway Stories” interactive simulator explores inner-lives of commuters

[From the Subway Stories web site, which features much more information including images and videos]

Woman using Subway Stories interactive installation

Subway Stories By Alon Chitayat & Jeff Ong

“Subway Stories” is an interactive subway simulator exploring the inner-lives of commuters in New York City.

Living in New York City, many of us spend hours a day below ground. Each day millions of people commute via the subway — an apparently “interactive” experience if you stop to consider the potential collisions that could happen. But if you’ve spent significant time on subways, you begin to realize it’s often an isolating experience — one of the last frontiers where cell phone service and networks are still absent, leaving its inhabitants to their own conversations, music, and inner-thoughts. Like a horizontal elevator, passengers anxiously wait for their stop, acutely aware of their temporary neighbors.

What of the judgments we make about those around us in places such as a subway car? The passing encounters, the conversations, the thoughts of our temporary neighbors? Through an interactive storytelling environment, “Subway Stories” invites users to reconsider the seemingly ordinary and daily experience of commuting.

Using two basic handles, a user controls the position of the adjacent car from which the camera peers into the subway on screen. Passengers have accompanying thoughts and sounds that play when the camera is focused on them.

Our hope is to create an intimate experience between the user and the subway, but more importantly between passengers — bridging the gap between the isolating experience of public spaces with the power of stories and reconsidering those ones immediately around us.

“Subway Stories” is a collaborative project by Alon Chitayat & Jeff Ong.

It was created during their graduate studies in the Interactive Telecommunications Program ( I.T.P. ), NYU, 2013.

Alon Chitayat commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the C train everyday. On his daily subway rides he sketches people, never knowing how much time is left till they get off the train.

Alon is a digital artist and animation director, exploring the symbiosis of Video and Interactive engines. His work was previously exhibited at venues including “ARS Electronica Festival”, “Siggraph Festival” and more.

Alon’s visual design studio – “Animishmish Creative House“  &  Alon’s ITP Blog.

Jeff Ong is a master’s candidate at NYU’s ITP. With a focus on creative coding, Jeff is interested in new forms of immersive storytelling and visual expression.

Previously working at an interactive agency in New York, Jeff came to ITP to explore ways to both humanize and push the applications of technology available today.

Jeff’s ITP Blog

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