Tag Archives: transport

20/20 Tunnel Vision | A Smart Nation Public Art proposal | week 4

Part II: Propose a media art intervention to complement the Smart Nation initiative

Other than the occasional MRT breakdown, train rides in Singapore are extremely comfortable. The carriages are clean, brightly lit and air-conditioned, especially on the newer underground MRT lines such as the Circle line and Downtown line. While riding the underground trains on long journeys, we may feel detached from the outside environment. Many people are familiar with that moment when one exits a train station only to find it’s raining cats and dogs.

MRT train tunnel. Image credit: themiddleground.sg
MRT train tunnel. Image credit: themiddleground.sg

20/20 Tunnel Vision is a media art intervention installed in underground train tunnels. It aims to enrich our daily commute with public art while giving passengers a real-time report of the environmental conditions above ground. Instead of the usual vague darkness, commuters on the underground Circle and Downtown lines will see simple graphic animations outside the carriage windows.

Inside a Circle Line train carriage. Image credit: Jimmy Foong. http://www.urbanrail.net/
Inside a Circle Line train carriage. Image credit: Jimmy Foong. http://www.urbanrail.net/
Updated in real-time, these immersive graphics will reflect the current weather conditions (e.g. rain, cloudy, brightness of the sky, temperature, sunset, sunrise, and PSI level during the haze). Being aware of the above ground conditions, commuters can adjust their travel routes along the way (perhaps to take a longer but sheltered path to their destination on a rainy day).
A mockup of an animation that indicates rain at the moment
A mockup of an animation that indicates rain at the moment
A mockup indicating current PSI levels in the area
A mockup indicating current PSI levels in the area
Mechanism at a glance
20/20 Tunnel Vision will use the moving image technique of the zoetrope, a mechanical optical toy. Instead of using printed images in a cylindrical configuration, the frames of the animation will be projected onto the running tunnel walls as still images (which can be updated instantly according to weather conditions).
With appropriate spacing and lighting, the projected images will have an illusion of movement, ‘playing’ the animation as the train speeds through the tunnel. These simple animations will differ from station to station and may change along the way. Their fluid forms and vibrant colours will be visually engaging as they seemingly move with the train. Instead of staring at their mobile devices, I believe these moving images will engage commuters while delivering useful and reliable information.

Example of a Zoetrope: