KMD and iSchool Students develop mobile app for GO train
How cool is a moving mobile public art project?
An excellent outcome for students from the Knowledge Media Design Institute, administratively situated in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.
Students in KMD1000 and KMD2004 were challenged to use media to promote the environment. They helped artists from No.9 — an organization that uses art and design to bring awareness to environmental concerns — and prototyped a smart phone application called tetAtet.
The result has people talking.
On June 26, the University of Toronto along with GO Train and No.9, launched a train car dubbed “Art Train Conductor No.9,” where riders can discuss urban, environmental and transit issues via the new mobile app, which can be downloaded by scanning QR codes on the train’s interior. Artwork exists as a visual design on the surface of a GO Train car as well.
“This was the launch of the train that KMDI, the iSchool and the UofT helped conceive as part of our commitment to educating about contemporary social and climate issues,” says former Director of KMDI's Collaborative Program, Joseph Ferenbok.
Earlier this year, student prototypes were accepted by No.9 to encourage creative thinking on to resolve environmental issues and promote a sustainable lifestyle.
Multi-media artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins designed the train car exterior that features an abstract, brightly coloured vinyl wrap, while inside, posters and ceiling vinyl will have a similar look and feel to the exterior graphic.
The design of the train-wrap references artistic abstraction, and camouflage in both the natural world and in the historical military sense through dazzle painting — and the role that pattern and abstraction play as a form of protecting, hiding, and cloaking explicit reality. Within a contemporary context, these visual styles take on the form of a digital visual language, and symbolize a reality that is augmented through virtual space.
While on board, GO riders are encouraged to engage in a discussion about sustainable public transit using the special mobile app.
Through an integrated Twitter feed, GO riders can respond to issues raised in a collection of video clips featuring a cross section of diverse and informed individuals from the Toronto area and beyond speaking exclusively within the tetAtet forum. The video segments focus on subjects such as intelligent urban planning, strengthening the public voices of individual citizens, environmental concerns, mobility, sustainable living, and building sustainable cities.
New video content will be introduced weekly to ignite discussion around urban planning, transit issues, environmental concerns and similar topics, and tetAtet will promote commuter interaction via the Twitter feed.
The app is available for Android phones, and is free for download from www.arttrain.no9.ca.
GO riders can experience Art Train Conductor No.9, operating on various corridors of the GO Transit Greater Toronto and Hamilton area networks until December 1.