Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Gogol On The Go: Books On The Subway


I really enjoyed reading about this initiative in the subway stations in Moscow! Thanks to Metro Moscow, subway riders can download over 100 great works of Russian literature FOR FREE on their smartphones or ereaders, to read while they ride the metro. I was really interested in this for 2 reasons:

1. It reminded me of class this past Monday. We were talking about donors, when Andrew explained how people are more likely to do something if they are MOTIVATED, ABLE, or if there is a convenient OPPORTUNITY to do so. This reminded me a lot about the general public and reading. Perhaps more people would read books if reading is made more convenient and accessible. Of course reading and access to texts (especially old ones that are available for free on Project Gutenberg and other sites) is already really easy and in many cases free or cheap, but I really like how this project in Moscow focuses on providing the opportunity. People already have the ability to read or access books, but providing just the right opportunity may motivate them to actually do so. Rather than having to go to a library or invest in books on Amazon or in a store, all you have to do is ride public transport, which many people do everyday anyway.

2. This is the kind of work I’m really interested in, in line with my work putting poetry and fiction into autorickshaws in India. I love the idea of placing art into unexpected, public spaces where people who won’t usually go to a gallery or reading might get exposed to it, and have an opportunity to experience the work as well. DC has MetroArts, and I’m really interested in ways to get involved and maybe place more art and poetry in public transport locations.


2 comments on “Gogol On The Go: Books On The Subway

  1. torisharbaugh
    November 5, 2014

    This a great initiative! I hope it proves to be effective. At least in the States, people seem to prefer to listen to music or catch up with the newspaper when commuting on the train. I think these ebooks are going to be especially useful for those passengers with long commutes. If someone is going two stops, they probably will be less likely to download a book than someone who has an hour long commute. Now that people have easy and quick access to download classic literature, it hopefully will be enough of a motivation to get them to actually read those books.

    You should definitely get involved with DC MetroArts though! If you asked most people in D.C., they wouldn’t even know MetroArts was a real thing. They could use your creativity on their efforts! I would love to see these arts works more apparent and to get people really talking about them.

  2. jaredchamoff
    November 5, 2014

    I love the title of this!!

    I think it is so very Russian of this initiative to include only Russian literature in this initiative. Not even gonna give them any non-Russian books like Gatsby or Ulysses or The HUNGER GAMES. And I don’t know about you, but those Russian novels are so dense and difficult to get through! I wonder if what Tori said about US travelers and their entertainment habits while traveling is true of Russians. Would many Russian commuters really want thumb through some Tolstoy on the train? I feel like I personally would need a good ten to fifteen minutes to get into the necessary head space to tackle such intense works.

    I agree with you that it is lovely that this project helps provide people with the opportunity to read the Russian greats. And like you said, now they needn’t go to the library to get to those books…they can just turn on their smart device and go! Cool!!!

    And I agree with Tori, you should totally get involved with MetroArts!!! 😀

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