‘Advice for the Living’ On Subway Platform Screens

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Pattison Onestop and Labspace Studio will present ‘Advice for the Living’, a collection of new 30-second videos created by Toronto artists John Loerchner and Laura Mendes specifically for the network of Pattison Onestop’s subway platform screens, which will play from July 15 to July 28, 2013.

advice_for_the_living__small_Loerchner and Mendes, the dynamic team who created a buzz with last year’s controversial initiative, Confessions Underground, have gathered a collection of ‘advice clips’ offered by senior citizens over the age of 70 and children under the age of seven, exploring the elusive and interrelated themes of wisdom, knowledge, and the search for happiness.

Revealing, funny and heartfelt words of wisdom will appear as subtitled videos every 10 minutes on Pattison Onestop subway platform screens across the city, capturing the attention of more than one million daily Toronto subway commuters. They will carry such advice as:

  • “Lots of sex, lots of lovin’, lots of hugs, lots of everything.” (Age 91);
  • “Say nice words like… you can play with me.” (Age 5);
  • “Learn to forgive your family… and love them deeply.” (Age 85);
  • “Apologize if you do something wrong.” (Age 7).

A selection of ‘Advice’ posters throughout the TTC subway system will also offer commuters brief expressions of wisdom.

“What makes Advice for the Living intriguing is that we’re all searching for the key to happiness,” says Mendes, co-director (with Loerchner) of Labspace Studio. “There’s a giant industry out there feeding us advice from ‘happiness gurus’ and leading professionals. This project is about regular people offering advice to regular people waiting for the subway.”

Advice was gathered from a ‘portable advice stand’, which was built by Loerchner and Mendes, and traveled with the artists to various Toronto senior citizen residences and children’s classrooms. The pair also took their advice stand to street corners and public parks in Savannah, Georgia, and Ashville, North Carolina, as well as a senior citizen residence in Florida.

“We wanted to solicit unconventional wisdom on happiness from two very different demographics in society often ignored for their intellectual contributions,” says Loerchner. “What we hoped to discover was common ground between the seemingly naive thoughts of children and the age-old wisdom of seniors. And that’s exactly what we discovered.”

“I am so pleased to welcome back John and Laura with their new project for our screens,” says Sharon Switzer, Pattison Onestop Arts programmer and curator. “I love the idea of turning over advertising space to a project that elevates the opinions of seniors and children, since these two ‘demographics’ are so undervalued in our society.”

Founded in 2007, Labspace Studio is a creative agency & art house led by Loerchner and Mendes. Their art projects range from curatorial exhibitions, multimedia performances, books, websites and interactive installations that often blur lines between art and everyday life. Their work has been featured in national newspapers and many television shows. Loerchner and Mendes will be soliciting advice on the streets of Toronto with their portable stand until July 15.

Advice for the Living is part of Art in Transit, Pattison Onestop’s year-long arts and culture program, presenting thought-provoking projects that enhance the shared environment and transport city-dwellers, if only momentarily, out of their daily routines.

Leave a Reply