"Optimism" is a conceptual art project proposed in 2007 by artist Reed Seifer which uses the word "optimism" printed on the back of MetroCards to provoke thought and spread the concept throughout the region. The artist's intent is to communicate a sense of positive, forward looking energy into the hands of those using the MetroCard through the simple use of the word.
The artist was drawn to the definition of the word: the inclination towards hopefulness and confidence; the philosophical theory that good must ultimately prevail.
The work originated from Seifer's college thesis project "optimism" where he created and distributed more than 5,000 "optimism" buttons to spread the concept around the world. Seifer has used other distribution mechanisms, based on the word "optimism" over the past ten years. The origin of the work stems from a personal interaction the artist had with his father.
The intent of the project is to provoke thought and distribute the word, and by extension, the concept, of remaining optimistic. It is intended to have no explanation other than the word.
Seifer is an artist and graphic designer based in New York City. More information about the artists work can be found at his website: www.projectoptimism.com
MetroCards will be distributed throughout the MTA system beginning in mid-2009 into early 2010.
For more information:
MTA Arts for Transit
Tel: 212 878 7250
- MetroCard as Art, The New York Times (November 20, 2009)
- Your MetroCard May Be Sending You a Secret Message, The New York Times (November 20, 2009)
- The Days May Be Grim, but Here's a Good Word to Put in Your Pocket, The New York Times (November 19, 2009)
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