Leaving a Legacy at MIT
I had a dream going into my senior year at MIT, and it was to leave a legacy for the rest of the community here. Borderline allowed me to achieve that by contributing as a mural design lead and painter for their tunnel beautification project, which spans a 200+ foot long section of walls located underneath the Landau Building on Vassar Street. My mural of flora from around the world, along with the thirty or so other adjacent works of art, injects a bit of color and positivity into what’s normally a bleak space that commuters pass through when the weather’s dreary. An added bonus—augmented reality features for some of the murals, available via the BorderlineAR app on Apple and Android—encourages passerby to engage with our art. The Borderline Tunnel shows that art isn’t lost at MIT and, in fact, we’ve got plenty of creativity to go around.
My friends and I labored over my mural for four weeks in Spring 2017. Some blossoms took half an hour to paint, and others required two hours of detailed work. There’s a total of 36 kinds of flowers and 6 types of mushrooms. The finished 5 by 5, complete with hand-lettered labels of each botanical species, is the closest to “stop and smell the roses” that one can get in a hallway that receives zero natural light.
The Borderline coordination team hoped to transform the tunnel from a useful connection between buildings to a destination of its own. I believe they’ve accomplished that and then some. The team’s reach has expanded beyond the tunnels; Borderline’s been commissioned to animate other locations around campus as well as invited to collaborate with other organizations outside of MIT. We’ve got our own microcommunity of artists, complete with bonding events and art tutorials, and a spam-mailing list to boot. This organization is just one of many examples of what happens when MIT students come together to convert an idea on paper into reality.
peep me at 0:07 and my mural at 2:27!