• Margaret Zheng's Tunnel66 room.

    Margaret Zheng's Tunnel66 room. "It's a preservation of some of my favorite memories as a first-year student at MIT — jamming on musical instruments, hanging out with friends, putting sticky notes all over the walls of my dorm room, painting murals, and working out."

    Image: Margaret Zheng

    Full Screen
  • Gloria Lin's Tunnel66 room.

    Gloria Lin's Tunnel66 room. "Though my dorm room isn't as verdant as this, it has a gorgeous view of the Charles River and Boston skyline."

    Image: Gloria Lin

    Full Screen
  • Skylar Gordon's Tunnel66 room.

    Skylar Gordon's Tunnel66 room. "My room is inspired by good memories of being on campus with my friends, hanging out in my room on first east."

    Image: Skylar Gordon

    Full Screen
  • Danny Gelman's Tunnel66 room.

    Danny Gelman's Tunnel66 room. "My room was inspired by clouds for the simple reason that I like clouds."

    Image: Danny Gelman

    Full Screen
  • Allan Gelman's Tunnel66 room.

    Allan Gelman's Tunnel66 room. "I made this room inspired by my favorite Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There."

    Image: Allan Gelman

    Full Screen
  • Jenny Zhang's Tunnel66 room.

    Jenny Zhang's Tunnel66 room. "This is a decently accurate representation of my room in East Campus: I have a hanging loft, shelves, rainbow LED lights, a spiky cat (hedgehog) that lives in the kiddie pool in the bottom left corner, and I'm a proud plant mom."

    Image: Jenny Zhang

    Full Screen

Art connects a community in quarantine

Margaret Zheng's Tunnel66 room. "It's a preservation of some of my favorite memories as a first-year student at MIT — jamming on musical instruments, hanging out with friends, putting sticky notes all over the walls of my dorm room, painting murals, and working out."

Tunnel66 reimagines The Borderline Mural Project, providing a virtual space where students can create art together, even while physically apart. Watch Video


Press Contact

Stephanie Tran
Email: stran@mit.edu
Phone: 617-253-6927

Below the concrete sidewalks and pathways between MIT Buildings 66 and E17 lies a labyrinth of tunnels and The Borderline Mural Project, a 200-foot-long installment of more than 60 murals painted by MIT-affiliated artists. What once was one of MIT’s busiest underground corridors and destinations is now quietly abandoned in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inspired by the Corona Maison art project, MIT students from The Borderline club developed a virtual tunnel called Tunnel66 to reconnect the MIT community through a collaborative digital art project. “Since we can't be on campus, we want Tunnel66 to be a place where students can still create art, even while socially distant, so we can still create art together and bring it together on this virtual platform,” say Danny and Allan Gelman, seniors and co-animation chairs for Borderline.

Tunnel66 reimagines the Borderline as a set of illustrated rooms connected by a long vertical ladder. Each room is decorated by a different member of the MIT community, and moving along the ladder represents each student climbing up to their own destinations, while being able to explore all the different communities on campus.

Students launched Tunnel66 just in time for this year’s CP*, a virtualized Campus Preview Weekend for all admitted first-year students. The goal was to showcase the vibrant art community that exists at MIT. “I was really pleasantly surprised by how alive the art scene is at MIT,” says Audrey Cui, an admitted MIT Class of 2024 student. “The general public's perception of MIT is usually super technical and that everyone's a hardcore math and science nerd, but I’m really glad that there's an art community I hope to join.”

Similar to the original 2D mural installment on campus, students used a blend of art and technology to bring Tunnel66 to life as an interactive piece of art. Using the Artivive app, users can view a number of Tunnel66 murals through their phones’ cameras to activate digital animations for each room. Co-animation chairs Jenny Zhang, Danny Gelman, and Allan Gelman developed a little welcome message to the MIT Class of 2024 for this project.

An important goal was to provide an inclusive space and opportunity to embody all of MIT. The hope is to draw people who wouldn’t necessarily have ever gotten involved with Borderline before. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to share their unique story," says Skylar Gordon, sophomore and pub chair of Borderline. “We really hope to see that. And we really hope to see all the stories of MIT.”

MIT students and affiliates are encouraged to get involved by downloading the template from the Tunnel66 website and submitting their own works of art in any medium of their choice through the Google form.


Topics: Community, Student life, Arts, Students, Undergraduate, Council for the Arts at MIT, Covid-19, Pandemic, Campus buildings and architecture

Back to the top