martin firrell

a subterranean sadness

december 2005

public information systems

6 images
artwork

A Subterranean Sadness was one of a series of projects exploring the manipulation of existing public information systems to deliver socially valuable messages.

The project looked at programmable VDU monitors in Liverpool Street Station, London, and re-purposed them to fulfil their original function as well as providing additional value to the viewer.

In the example pictured above, the standard security message is accompanied by an existential 'security message' about the burden of loneliness. Railway stations are often busy but anonymous places, teeming with people but simultaneously insulating us from one another. Literally, in our loneliness, we are not alone.

A Subterranean Sadness speaks to this shared feeling of dissociation and the deep human desire for connection, not isolation; for warmth, not sadness.

Incidentally (below) was created for the public information system at the South Bank Centre in London.

The project was titled 'Incidentally' because it aimed to introduce into the stream of functional information, other existential messages about the nature of human experience.

I Would Have Given Anything For Your Call (see images section) was devised for the Samsung neon that used to form part of the world famous lights in Piccadilly Circus lights.

The Irreducible Truth about Humanity (see images and artwork section) was commissioned by Maiden Outdoor and presented on digital screens in London Railway Stations in December 2005.