Intimate Encounters: Transportation as Theatre in Toronto's Underground
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The accidental eye contact, the casual nudge of the thigh, and the slight smell of sweat, subway systems are multi-sensory experiences that are unique to every city. Subways are daunting and anxious spaces. Being forced to be close with strangers is rare in the modern era; we tend to avoid contact with strangers as much as possible. Public transportation is possibly the only public space that forces you to be close to one another. But subways are becoming more and more intimidating. Underfunding and an increase in privatization of public spaces have left the public transportation realm a hostile environment. Subway stations are essentially becoming less inclusive and welcoming. My thesis research is going to focus on relieving the tensions in public transportation through intimate encounters. When an individual enters a subway, they should feel comfortable and intrigued by the public space; subways should be an unworldly experience that reflects their city. Research will focus on ethical public spaces; what is offered in public spaces specific to subway systems. Public spaces should focus on safety, which is challenging in subway systems since danger is always present due to the trains’ platform. I will investigate well designed subway stations and incorporate them with my project, as well as using my own personal experiences with a variety of subway stations within North America. Subway stations have the ability to function as a successful public space.