Joe Baldwin has conceived of a project that would see nature installed within train cars, allowing passengers to enjoy their own personal gardens whilst they travel. It comes as part of his Open-Air Public Transportation project.
Baldwin, a graduate of UIC Art & Design, considers himself an artist of new media. The ‘new’ here referring not always to the materials used but new in concept. The plants are themselves from a sophisticated lineage, however, they are continually growing in new blooms, and thus, display a fresh perception of materials stemming from a primitive age.
The Open-Air Public Transport project was originally exhibited as an installment in the Art on Track mobile arts festival in Chicago of 2011, which is currently the largest mobile arts exhibit to circle the Chicago Loop. This project in particular spent 5 fives hours traveling around the Loop back in September of 2011.
As you can see, seats have been completely mossed over with grass and ivy. Additional plants, including various leafy stalks and flowers, make an appearance as you wander down the aisle and take a seat upon the sod. All plants used were native, representing a closed circle that would travel with another closed circle, which comes in the form of CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) tracks. Thus, keeping native elements native and non-invasive. Though it certainly wouldn’t hurt for the concept of the project to spread beyond Chicago.
While seeking funding back in 2010, Baldwin sought for $400,000, doubling the estimated $200,000 needed due to his Chicago location. Despite the project’s success in the Art on Track exhibit, Baldwin was, as of last reports, still in search of more funding. He has previously attributed the difficulty of fundraising in part to garnering a public that is receptive of the project, but don’t help to support it.
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