Art and Transit and String Instruments

There was a lot of serious stuff going on in the world of environmental politique last week. From hydrofracking to the Regional Green House Gas emissions initiative, New York policy makers were busy. More on these issues later this week, but for now, I just wanted to share this most excellent project by Alexander Chen, Conductor. When we spoke at the Arts Tech Meetup in July presenting City Atlas, he discussed this most excellent project of his that uses real time subway schedules to create a virtual string instrument. This project joins the ranks of Reach New York, the interactive piece at Herald Square and Mary Miss’s frames in Union Square, that seek to highlight the everyday pieces of infrastructure in our subway stations as art. The difference here however, is that you don’t have to actually be in the subway to see this one.

From his blog: At, Conductor turns the New York subway system into an interactive string instrument. Using the MTA’s actual subway schedule, the piece begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram.


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