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Want to live in a world without ads? There's an app for that

29 September 2014, 3:47 pm EDT By Laura Rosenfeld Tech Times
No Ad is a new app that turns advertisements seen in public into works of art. You can now turn your world into one big art museum.  ( Eric Thayer / Getty Images )

Practically everywhere you look these days, there's an advertisement on a billboard, on a bench or on the sidewalk. It's inescapable.

But what if we told you there was a way you didn't have to see those pesky ads anymore? We're not suggesting that you keep your eyes closed, cut yourself off from the outside world or tear down posters in the subway platform. Living an ad-free life is as easy as downloading an app.

No Ad is a new app that replaces ads with art. All you have to do is point your smartphone or tablet at an ad, and No Ad will use its "augmented reality technology" to transform the ad into a piece of artwork from a group of 50 artists.

(Photo : The Heavy Projects / Vimeo)

The app, which is currently available to download for free for iOS and Android devices, was created by Jordan Seiler of Re+Public, an organization that uses mobile technology to transform public spaces, and Jowy Romano of the Subway Art Blog. Seiler developed the technology behind the app and Romano helps choose which art to display in place of the ads, according to The New York Times. Much of the art featured in No Ad comes from street artists the creators know personally.

A video of the app in action shows just how cool it can be, showing the subway ad for the movie Lucy magically transform into a graphic, black-and-white painting of a skull talking on the phone. However, The New York Times points out that there are some issues with the app right now, which launched its beta version on Sept. 10. It appears that it can only block ads that are not defaced or altered in any way, which can sometimes be difficult to find on a New York City subway platform. It's also hard to see the artist's name or even the artwork clearly.

"As an advertising blocker, it functions pretty poorly," Seiler told The New York Times. "It's more of a proof of concept, for once we're wearing Google Glass or other kinds of virtual reality."

In the future, No Ad will partner with independent curators and feature new art in the app every month. No Ad will showcase images from the International Center of Photography, focusing on the work of documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado starting in mid-October, The New York Times reports.

Now if only this app could actually turn ads into art, we'd really be making this world a more beautiful place.

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