Sick of Subway Advertisements? There’s An App For That.

No Ad artwork by Ice and Sot. Image via Animal New York.

If you’re tired of being bombarded by advertisements on your way to work everyday, well, there’s an app for that. It’s called No Ad, but unlike ad blockers for your web browser, it replaces them not with an empty space, but with an artwork from one of 50 artists currently being featured on the app. While it’s billed as an augmented reality app, unless you’re using Google Glass, you’ll have to point your device at the billboard in order to see the art, and it won’t actually erase the advertisement’s existence in your perception of the world. Instead, it will provide you with an awesome replacement visual on the screen of your iPhone or iPad.

The app’s makers, which are the tech-focused art group Re+Public and the Subway Art Blog, describe their mission thusly

New York City has one of the largest and most robust transit networks in the world with a subway system spanning 468 stations throughout the five boroughs…Littered throughout almost every station is a repetition of movie, television, product, and alcohol ads, which take advantage of NY’s immense captive transit audience and turn our daily commute into one long commercial for the latest products and commercial ideas. For a city that prides itself on being a leading cultural center, and despite the valiant efforts of our MTA arts programming, New York City subways seem to lack a cultural richness befitting this great metropolis.

According to City Lab, this month’s No Ad lineup is loosely themed around street art, and features work by many local artists including Jon Burgerman, Jilly Ballistic, and  Vermibus. New artists and themes will be added monthly in an attempt to keep up with the stream of new ads constantly being plastered on subway platforms. The app apparently also has plans in the works to collaborate with visual arts and photography institutions.

It’s important to note that No Ad is not attempting to in any way undermine physical graffiti art on advertisements and subway platforms. “We are not trying to discourage physical ad takeovers and other illegal art in the subway…In fact, if an ad has altered past a certain point, or has enough graffiti on it, NO AD will not work on it. As far as we are concerned this is a feature, not a glitch,” Subway Art Blog’s Jowy Romano told Animal New York.


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