Most people standing on the platforms waiting for an MBTA train have their heads down, eyes buried in their smartphones.
But transit officials and the Institute of Contemporary Art want riders to look up, even if it’s just for a few seconds.
Starting Monday, a series of very short, documentary-style videos created by local teens will begin appearing on some of the high-definition digital screens displayed at MBTA stations and stops throughout the system.
The three videos, which range from animation to a time-lapse love letter to the city of Boston, were created by students from Boston and Revere, with help from staff at the ICA’s Teen Arts Program.
In one video, called “Shades of the City,” stop-motion animation tells “the story of a woman of color who falls asleep on the train and dreams about painting the city of Boston in her likeness,” according to a description. It was created by Mithsuca Berry.
A second video, made by Sydney A. Bobb and called “Fraternal Eclipse,” shows how MBTA riders’ lives collide because of a simple act of kindness.
The third video, “A Walk in the Park,” by Gabe S., is a snapshot of Boston’s busy streets.
Evan Rowe, the MBTA’s director of revenue, said the idea to display the work by students came together over the course of the past few months. He said transit officials met with the ICA team in November to talk about ways they could incorporate the students’ work into the T’s new digital advertising screens that riders walk by daily.
To Rowe’s knowledge, he said, this type of collaboration marks a first of its kind for the MBTA.
“Teens are leading the way in our country on many issues, so in this present moment, it feels especially appropriate for them to be the trailblazers for a new arts initiative in our public space,” Rowe said in a statement. “We hope T riders enjoy the results as much as we do.”
You can watch the three videos below:
A film by Sydney A. Bobb:
A film by Mithsuca Berry:
A film by Gabe S.:
Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.