From June 28 – July 26, two digital billboards in Massachusetts weren’t trying to sell you anything, instead they were displaying photos of nature, often depicting their surrounding landscape.
The temporary public art installation entitled, Healing Tool, was the brainchild of Brian Kane, who took over two busy highway billboards; one on the 95 Northbound in Wakefield, MA (42.5202 N, 71.088 W) and the other on the 93 Southbound in Stoneham, MA (42.47764 N, 71.11257 W).
‘Healing Tool‘ is art designed for people in cars. A temporary public art installation using digital billboards on interstate freeways. The goal is to provide a moment of temporary relief and unexpected beauty during the daily grind of commuting. The piece builds on a body of work which simulates digital experiences in the real world. In this case, simulating the Photoshop Healing Tool to replace or patch over the landscape which is blocked by the billboard.
During the day hours, a series of images from the specific location are shown on the display. We replace the missing background and create a magic dimensional window. A dynamic motion parallax effect occurs as the vehicle passes the location. During the evening hours, high-resolution images of the moon are shown. Synced to the daily phase, people can view the moon despite the effects of urban light pollution. An image of the Milky Way is shown on new moon night.
Thematically, the piece is ambiguously green. It appears to be replacing the artificial with the natural, but it’s really just using technology to simulate a nature replacement. It’s also a form of “unvertising” – a campaign without a message. By removing the marketing message from the advertising space, we create an unexpected moment of introspection. People are allowed to interpret an image based on their own experience, and not necessarily with the singular focus of the advertiser’s intent.