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MIT student blogger twins Danny and Allan G. '20

Tunnel66 by Danny and Allan G. '20

bringing the borderline tunnels online for CP*

Borderline is a club at MIT that started in Spring of 2017 (our freshman spring), when a group of upperclassmen got funding from the Council of the Arts at MIT to paint a 200-foot long section of the MIT Tunnels under building 66. Then, augmented reality animations were added to some of the murals, meaning if you put your phone up to the murals, an animation will play over it! That semester, we both got to make our own murals and animations, and since then, we have been part of the exec team as co-AR chairs, teaching anyone who wants to learn, how to make their own AR animations! Borderline has really expanded past the tunnels through a variety of projects, and is now a community of people interested in the intersection of art and technology. CPW is something we, as a club, were really looking forward to as a time to showcase to the incoming class what Borderline is all about: collaboration and community through art and technology! 

So as part of this years CP*, Borderline has launched a “digital tunnel,” Tunnel66, to stay connected! 

Here are some words from our fellow exec members about this project and what Borderline has meant to them:

Gloria ’22, President

I remember being interested in Borderline ever since seeing the club’s AR demo at CPW Midway, even before I knew I was coming to MIT. Freshman fall, I painted and animated a mural in the tunnel. The following spring, I painted another mural in the Banana Lounge and joined Borderline exec. I’m now President of the club during one of the weirdest semesters in recent memory. Like many other clubs, Borderline was planning and looking forward to events and projects (including CPW) this semester– then we got sent home. 

About a month into Corona-tine, our Pub Chair, Sky, suggested that Borderline do a collaborative art project to connect the community in isolation, and she shared this project. Around the same time, we started getting CP(*) planning emails from ASA, and the idea of Tunnel66 was born. After some more planning, I wrote up the Tunnel66 site, requested the hostname, and drew the first “room” in a couple days. Since CPW was probably the reason I comMITted, I’m excited to contribute to a project that preserves some of that energy for this year’s adMITs and encapsulates the magic of Borderline’s murals– a living, breathing collaborative work of art where students can express themselves and share with the community.

Margaret ’23, Design Co-chair

When I first saw the Borderline murals in the tunnels on my campus tour as a rising high school senior, I didn’t know what it was called, but I knew I just had to come back and walk through the tunnels once more after the actual tour had concluded. To me, it radiated colors and inspiring energy of so many kinds, in so many aspects; I could only imagine how many more have smiled and gazed at those murals, and walked away with thoughts and imaginations. I have wished that I could contribute to this massive, collaborative masterpiece all up until I got to paint a mural and join Borderline’s exec board in my first semester at MIT, which I’m beyond grateful for. 

Since then, working behind the magic of those amazing murals with a team of dedicated art-lovers have definitely broadened my understanding of different communities and art styles. While unfortunately our original plans for CPW and the semester have been halted, the idea of Tunnel66 sounded to me just as inspiring and welcoming as a way to showcase aspects of MIT communities – and this time, even prefrosh could join! I drew up a very simple template with a ladder that connects each room in the tower, coz although we are all physically apart, we still want to be together in spirit! I can’t wait to see this tower built collaboratively by members of the MIT community & adMITs and learn more about what everyone else’s been up to!

Jenny ’22, Animation Co-chair

When I was a junior in high school, my Science Olympiad team came to MIT to participate in the invitational that MIT hosts every year. While I was running from event to event, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be next, I accidentally wandered into the basement and got outrageously lost, but somehow ended up in the tunnels in building 66. I didn’t even know it was AR or animation related, but the murals were stunning. I couldn’t stay for long, but I knew I definitely wanted to come back one day and contribute some way or another to the organization behind it. Freshman year, I got to take a better look at it and realized the murals were animated!! I had never really drawn or painted, but I started learning Blender (a 3D modeling program) to try my hand at digital animation. I was able to join Borderline exec my sophomore fall, and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to make art more accessible to others, and to bring a splash of color and joy to MIT students who often walk through the tunnels to get around campus. Tunnel66 is an interactive, community building project that brings together all of Borderline’s unique strengths, combining AR, art, and a sense of community to all.

Lucy ’21, Financial Chair

The week before orientation my freshman fall was the first time I saw the tunnels under building 66, and the moment I saw the first animation I knew I had to get involved with Borderline. Having never been very good at drawing, being an artist always seemed like an unattainable task to me, but animation has helped me bridge the gap between art and technology. I’m hoping to continue to promote art across MIT’s campus!

psssttt @ 2024 pre-frosh: download the Artivive app to find some secret AR messages on the tunnel66 murals :D :A