Los Angeles

iGallery: Art in Transit

In partnership with Freewaves
Freewaves is dedicated to the creative exhibition of the most innovative and culturally relevant independent new media art from around the world.

By Anne Bray

While I know some people find art to be alienating, the intensely commercialized streetscape of Los Angeles can feel alienating to me too. I wanted to find out if other L.A. pedestrians and public transit users felt the same way, and if putting art on the bus could be a force for de-alienation. In 2010, my organization started an ongoing project called Out The Window, which screens video artworks on the Transit TV monitors aboard L.A. Metro's 2000 buses. In our first round, we screened 50 video artworks by local artists about Los Angeles. We surveyed 540 riders, and overwhelmingly, the response confirmed my hypothesis. When asked, "What would your video be about?" Riders said they wanted to make films that would reflect and uplift the lives and spirits of their fellow bus riders.

Inspired by riders' profound reactions, we wanted to find efficient systems to reach new audiences inexpensively. Then, at the very same time, game designer Happy Dojo's Joe Kim emerged out of the media-activist mist. Together, Freewaves and Happy Dojo developed a video art gallery app highlighting the most challenging and controversial Out the Window videos that didn't make it onto the Metro Bus screens. The app, called Out the Window UNCENSORED, makes these videos viewable in the privacy of your own mobile device! Out the Window UNCENSORED is available for iPhones and iPads via iTunes for free until September 30th. It highlights the most challenging and controversial videos by L.A.-based digital artists made for L.A. buses, viewable in the privacy of your phone. See samples of the 16 eclectic video experiences about L.A.

Out the Window UNcensored from Out the Window on Vimeo.

Public but personal media and viewable from anywhere, it offers new opportunities to bring art with you, to share on the bus, at a party, even at school. Introduced by me, Freewaves' director Anne Bray, the program's brief text helps viewers enter an edgy set of two-minute animations, narratives, performances and docs created by L.A. artists including:

E-Bow - an experimental video to the music of sigur rós from peter bill on Vimeo.

Fantasmas de Los Angeles from Out the Window on Vimeo.

All of these videos originated specifically for the L.A. Metro buses, but a few did not make it to public screens. Info about the videos concludes the app so that viewers can compare their interpretations with the curator's. And even more artwork is
linked at the end for the culturally hungry. Art CAN go anywhere. This art is both collectible and sharable. iGallery!

Out the Window UNcensored iPhone App | Image: Courtesy of Freewaves.

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Top Image: Out the Window UNcensored iPhone App | Image: Courtesy of Freewaves.

About the Author

Anne Bray has been working at the intersection of public space and media art as a hybrid artist and director of the nonprofit media arts organization, Freewaves (see www.freewaves.org). The creativity of one and the social outreac...
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