If you frequently travel through Union Station, you might’ve noticed the colourful yet dreary art panels that run through the entire length of the subway platform.
While some don’t mind observing the art installation during their commutes, others are calling the piece “depressing.”
In a recent Reddit thread that has amassed hundreds of comments, one user wrote, “Union Station has the most depressing, unsettling art. No part of it sparks joy. Will they ever change this?”
The installation is called Zones of Immersion and consists of a 150-metre screen of seven-foot-tall glass panels.
The translucent mural is composed of silver-stained, enameled, acid-etched, and laminated glass panels.
Multi-disciplinary artist and OCADU professor Stuart Reid is the brains behind the project, and spent hours riding the subway, sketching passengers, and writing poems for the installation.
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“Using imagery and text, the artwork captures the blurred, throbbing rhythms of a city in transit,” reads a description of the installation.
Some sketches depict ghoulish figures making their commutes, including a mother holding her baby while on a train.
The installation also includes a variety of poems, with one reading, “Where do you look? You can’t look at the people across or behind, up or down too intently — they get ‘creeped out’ yet they’re right in front of you.”
In 2008, Reid won an international competition and was commissioned to create a permanent art installation for the second subway platform at Union Station.
“It is filmic, immersive, and responsive to the viewers’ movements – seeing themselves figuratively and literally mirrored in this subjective rendering of the very experience they are objectively part of at the moment of their viewing,” Reid said of the installation.
The project was finally installed in 2015, eight years after its initial completion.
While some people don’t seem to be too fond of the installation, others said they’ve grown to appreciate it.
“This is a visual representation of a creeping loss of personality and essential humanity,” one Reddit user wrote. “Somehow, I like it. But not sure it’s appropriate for the setting.”
While opinions on the installation may differ, the project most definitely provides a space for reflection and observation amid subway delays that regularly plague Union Station.