Masstransiscope Restored

In 1980, artist and filmmaker Bill Brand installed 228 panels in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue station in Brooklyn. Lit by fluorescent lights, the panels are viewed through carefully spaced slits cut in a special housing. Based upon the principle of the 19th century zoetrope, passengers looking out the right side of a Manhattan-bound B or Q train would be able to watch a short animation. Brand’s original idea was to change the panels on a regular basis to make one, epic film comprised of 20 second clips, but soon realized that this would be unfeasible.

In the intervening years the display had fallen into disrepair, the lights broken and the panels covered in graffiti, despite Brand himself regularly going down into the station with a key someone had slipped him to clean the panels. However, over the summer of 2008 Mr. Brand, with the help of volunteers and the transportation authority’s Arts for Transit program, restored the installation and in November of that same year restarted it without any announcement or fanfare; another hidden little gem inside the vast metropolis.

[via The New York Times : Brooklyn Based : Wooster Collective : Jason Eppink]

4 Responses to “Masstransiscope Restored”

  1. LiiLii Says:

    I would think of this idea as a child watching the street lines from my parents moving vehicle…Glad someone did it…

  2. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Hooked on Disney as a child, led me to discover zoetropes. I’d have the same sort of ideas run through my head as we passed heavily wooded areas in the fam car. The flickering forest suggesting much more than mere trees. As above, happy to see someone do something with it.

  3. Sinclair Ali Says:

    Sadly, the installation survived in the form of advertisements set up in the DC metro system. Although when you viewed them, the blurry resolution and up-and-down motion of the train induced motion sickness–so I permanently associate Target’s logo with throwing up now.

  4. Binnorie Says:

    I’m fortunate enough to live right along the Q train and was able to watch the before and after of the repairs. It always surprises someone in the train as it passes by.