Rochester Subway is a pioneer project of ExSpace Artist Collective, a group artists working in cooperation with the Sage Art Center, University of Rochester digital media department and local artist to showcase the evolution of an abandoned urban space through art projections and augmented reality technology. “The Rochester Subway space isn’t simply a significant landmark in decay, but it has evolved into a platform of individual expression and sociopolitical conversation representing parts of the society that are silenced by media, societal expectations or cultural norms,” said the project lead and curator Naomi Rutagarama. The international team of four passionate artists, Naomi Rutagarama, Jorge Vazquez Gonzalez, Sammi Wang, and Valev Laube, will bring an interactive art exhibition to a wide audience in April 2018.
Since 1956, the Rochester Subway, once known as a center for urban transportation and community interaction, has been left abandoned by the city and its former occupants. After multiple attempts to re-purpose this location in downtown Rochester, the city has left much of the derelict subway system unattended. To this day the city has failed to find practical and beneficial purposes for the space. While the art exhibition isn’t purposed to provide any solutions to an ongoing debate about the space, the creators hope to at least facilitate new conversation around it that could look at the community and the artworks that currently reside there for inspiration. The marketing specialist and digital designer Valev Laube commented: “We believe that ideas for re-purposing or renovating the space already exist, engraved and painted on the walls of the subway tunnels. It’s all about collecting documentations and bringing these stories above the ground.”
As many other abandoned landmarks, the Rochester subway has been taken over by homeless people, youth urban explorers, historians and curious local citizens. It lives on as a vibrant space for artistic sociopolitical expression through graffiti and street art and remains a popular location for photography by many social media influencers. “As residents it’s our duty to respect and learn about the history that surro
About Valev Laube:
Valev Laube is an Estonian-born brand manager, artist, and designer currently based in New York. He’s an enthusiastic creative mind whose digital designs have been the cornerstone of many New York-based festivals, events, and company brands.