Subway is a project exploring the subversive qualities of digital media. It works with communities to address rigid laws in an artistic way and by driving them to the point of abstracted absurdity.

Some countries have laws that forbid their citizens to dance in public. While we cannot change the law, we can change the production of dance to allow everybody to participate in his form of expression. We developed a tool that allows a mediatized dialog between dancers to overcome a repressive doctrine through creative use of digital media and mobile devices.
Subway is a collaboration of Ava Ansari with Andrew Quitmeyer and the Digital World and Image Group that started 2011, when she screened her “Dancing by myself in public” peformance for the group. Through mobile media, the performance of the dance was shared with Iranian artists and they were able to contribute to the performance in their own ways.

A freely available Android app allowed these participants to re-stage the dance frame by frame, as well as include own poses and dance suggestions. Because the app works on most Android devices and can easily be shared, they re-staged the individual frames of the dance in many different public locations within Iran. While dancing is forbidden, striking a still pose for a snapshot is possible. In that way the app becomes a digital tool pressing the boundaries of oppressive laws in order to point out their capriciousness and absurdity.

Credits: Ava Ansari, Andrew Quitmeyer, Michael Nitsche (faculty)

Project Website