Stockholm’s metro stations turn into one large digital art gallery

Stockholm’s metro stations turn into one large digital art gallery
Leading lights  -   Artists

Clear Channel and design studio Affairs have collaborated to create what they call The Emotional Art Gallery which uses the real-time emotions of commuters in Stockholm to replace advertising with artworks.

The billboards have turned the city’s public transportation network into a smart and responsive digital art gallery intended to cheer commuters up and combat negative emotions. Prior to this initiative, Stockholm’s Metro system has always been known as the world’s longest art gallery, with paintings, sculptures, carvings and mosaics at 100 stations, spreading across an area of over 110 kilometers.

Clear Channel, an outdoor media company, owns the digital billboards across Stockholm that span the entire city its train systems. Together with Affairs, a local design studio, they commissioned artworks after research came out finding that Stockholm’s population sees the highest stress and anxiety levels in Sweden. This is a trend that applies to many metropolitan cities around the world whose communities experience high levels of stress during their commutes, especially in high-intensity places like public transportation. 

The algorithm used for this instalment uses dynamic public data within Google searches, social media posts, news articles and travel traffic information to predict and interpret people’s emotions and act accordingly.

“This is a trend which applies in many cities across the globe where metropolitan communities experience stress during their travel to work, particularly in high-intensity environments such as metro systems,” said Clear Channel.

A total of six artists were selected for the project, Jesper Lindborg, Andreas Wannerstedt, Ana Blizzard, Susi Sie, Maciek Janicki and artist duo Emilie Mottet and Eric Severin. Each of the artists was assigned an emotion and commissioned to design a digital artwork accordingly.

“The Emotional Art Gallery is an emotion-triggered art experience, a unique way of curating and displaying the work of artists from across the globe,” said Antonia von Euler-Chelpin, founder of Young Art, a platform for emerging artists that contributed in the artist selection process. “Imagine walking into a museum where the entire exhibition is adapted in real-time to make you feel good,” she explained.

“The selected artists represent an emerging generation of creatives that primarily work in new digital mediums. For them, a screen like this is a very natural canvas,” she added.

Jesper Lindborg, for example, created an animation of a marble statue among colorful pillows and foam pieces to symbolize the feeling of safety. Andreas Wannerstedt on the other hand, created a “hypnotic” animation of three rotating tubes of colour that interacted with one another “in perfect harmony” intended to calm viewers and invoke a pleasant feeling of order. Ana Blizzard was in charge of happiness and for that she created a playful animation that showed flashing shots of cake and bright colors.