Arts & Culture
Artists take a trip in the Transit Interpretation Project
They'll create responses to the commuter system in the form of dance, photographs, poetry and even fashion
Published: November 27, 2013
If you've travelled on I-4 through Orlando in the last decade, you've seen the neon-decked LYNX Central Station, the downtown hub of the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority. (You know, the building with the undulating roof that in an alternate universe would just be a huge Miami Subs.) If you've never been there or never been on a bus in Central Florida, you're not alone. "Not many people ride it, and part of their argument for not riding it is because they've already decided that it's of no use to them," says Patrick Greene, curator of the Gallery at Avalon Island and the visionary behind the Corridor Project, "a site-specific contemporary art museum" whose conceptual works appear in ever-shifting venues throughout the I-4 corridor. "Maybe if everybody checked it out, at least then we might come up with more insight." To that end, Greene launched the Transit Interpretation Project (TrIP) under the umbrella of the Corridor Project, enlisting a cadre of artists and creatives from across the disciplines, challenging each of them to ride a different route and create an artistic response.
The most visible service of the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority is the LYNX bus system, consisting of 280 air-conditioned, biodiesel-powered coaches running 71 fixed routes which weave through Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. For the 1.8 million people residing therein, a one-way fare costs $2 and transfers are free if made within 90 minutes. A monthly pass costs $50, and in Phase 1 of the Transit Interpretation Project, artists are handing off the bus pass to each other after completing their chosen route. Contemporary dance group Voci Dance sent three dancers along Link 13, improvising movements for a planned larger work. Other contributors to TrIP include Cirque du Soleil music director (and Timucua Arts White House host) Benoit Glazer, local bike-share pioneer Sarah Elbadri, and algorithmic artist Nathan Selikoff.
David Moran, a graduate student focusing on game design in UCF's Center for Emerging Media, was the first to complete his route. A daily user of the LYNX system for the past two years, he took a bus from UCF to Rollins, then another to the downtown bus station, then another to Parliament House, taking photos and video along the way and posting 194 of them on Instagram (search for the hashtag #trip_orlando). He then walked for six hours the entire way back to his home near UCF, reflecting on the reality that some commuters face when their own schedule doesn't quite line up with the bus schedule.
"People can be kind of stranded places because of the fact that [the bus system] goes dark at a certain time," says Moran. "What does that mean for people that still need to get around? Not everybody operates 9-5, Monday through Friday." Moran hopes that his photographs communicate these issues, as well as the sense of isolation and marginalization that come with not participating in the dominant commuter culture.
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