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Metro to Present New “Life Underground” Web Documentary Series at Los Angeles Union Station

Wednesday January 31, 2018

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in partnership with filmmaker Hervé Cohen, will present Life Underground, an immersive media installation and interactive web documentary featuring subway rider stories from across the globe at Los Angeles Union Station January 30 to February 5.

Los Angeles’ Metro Rail System is one of 13 city subway systems featured in Life Underground, and is the only U.S.-based subway system included. This temporary installation will mark the public debut of the L.A. documentary as part of Metro and the Metro Red Line’s 25th anniversary this year. The multimedia installation will be on view in the station’s historic ticketing hall. Admission is free and open to the public from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. between January 30 and February 5. An evening celebration with an opportunity for the public to meet the artists will take place on Wednesday, January 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The installation, coproduced by BelleMoon-La Huit, is also supported by the French Consulate of Los Angeles. 

Life Underground invites visitors on a journey through the subways of the world and the personal stories of passengers. The experience features dozens of subway riders selected purely by chance who tell their stories of love, dreams, family and migration, creating a celebration of public transportation and the human experience. 

“Hearing people’s stories is a privilege that inspires us to broaden how we think about ourselves and the world around us,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “We are proud that Metro riders are featured in this creative installation, which will showcase voices and perspectives from all over the world.”

Metro’s Art & Design program enhances the customer experience with innovative visual and performing arts programming that encourages ridership and connects people, sites and neighborhoods throughout the region.

“As our subway system grows throughout Los Angeles County, we continue to showcase the importance of integrating the arts into the transit experience,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Metro Art & Design is award-winning and innovative, and exhibitions like these really help to add vibrancy to our transit properties.”

Four different Los Angeles subway rider stories are featured in both the web documentary and the multimedia exhibition:

  • Natalya, 28, is celebrating having just transitioned to becoming a woman. She shares both apprehension and excitement about her new identity.
  • Idris, 16, is returning from summer school. He has just lost his mother, and the healing process is slow but steady.
  • Edward, 49, says he will never get married or have a steady relationship. After a shattering heartbreak, his closest companion is now his African grey parrot.
  • Erick, 24, is an immigrant from Guatemala commuting from his morning job to his afternoon job. Having just learned that he’s about to become a father, Erick is excited but unsure about the future.

Filmmaker Hervé Cohen, who collaborated with artist Tonian Irving and music composer Brian Rodvien, began filming city subway systems in June 2016. The web documentary will be released worldwide in March 2018 during the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

To learn more about Metro Art & Design, visit metro.net/art, instagram.com/metro.art.la and facebook.com/metroartla.