Have you ever reached a destination, unable to recall how you got there? When the brain switches to autopilot, one experiences mindlessness, a mind-state often paired with routine. The urban landscape, specifically underground public transit, discourages the embodied experience associated with mindfulness. Using Philadelphia’s Market-Frankford Line as a case study, artist Lauren Robie found that public transit can overload the perceptual systems of its riders, compelling them to shut down and tune out.
However, there is potential to change the individual perceptions of public transit riders. To change one’s perception, one must experience an event that asks the person to wake up and take notice, and maintain that awareness. In order to inspire change, Robie has devised and implemented Mind the Motion, an ongoing site-specific art intervention. The method is simple: ride public transit, draw the environment, and give the drawing to a stranger.
This intervention has two components: the first is a novel experience and the second asks for long-term mindfulness and meditation. Using drawing, the transit rider actively perceives his or her surroundings, solidifying his or her observations on paper. The rider then gifts the drawing to another individual. Through this act, it becomes a souvenir of a shared perceptual experience. It is the trace of a special event, more potent because the interaction provides a narrative, an anchor in memory. Because it is memory physically realized, it solicits future meditation. To facilitate the drawing as art intervention as souvenir, I produced over two hundred 6.5” x 9” envelopes with the project title, a concise description, instructions, and contact information.
On this site, you will find the drawings, written reflections, and visual documentation of Robie's experience and the experiences of others.
To obtain a Mind the Motion envelope, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.