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A Simple Question Stirs a Student's Art Project

Myron Laban stands with his finished work on one of the CTA platforms that inspired it.

Myron Laban stands with his finished work on one of the CTA platforms that inspired it.

A simple commute has turned into something much bigger for UIC Pharmacy P3 Student Myron Laban.

"I take the train every day, and you sit by this other commuter, and I don’t think we acknowledge fact that we’re humans or people," Laban said.

So Laban, and friend Alex Myung, turned a daily necessity into a three month long art project. Between June and August Laban would ask fellow CTA passengers a deceptively profound question, "If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would you tell yourself?"

Laban noted, "this was just a way to connect with people in the city who otherwise you think are different, but at the same time we have a lot of similarities."

Over 100 CTA riders talked to Laban, and Myung filmed the resulting conversations. Laban then used the conversations as inspiration for a painting. Myung filmed Laban painting and edited it into the CTA conversations. The reulsting film, titled "CTA Project Short Film" was released earlier this week. 

"People are interesting in general," Laban said. "And on the CTA in particular, I feel that's the most diverse space in the city. You'll get every kind of person there. Some people would be very vague with answers, but some people would get very deep."

Myung said. "It was amazing to see Myron’s positive energy create a space where people felt safe to be honest and vulnerable, especially in a city that can be overwhelming at times."

The video can be viewed below.

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