NYC's MTA.. Visualized
January 31, 2011 2:05 PM   Subscribe

"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." posted by pwally (13 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
It never loads any sounds, maybe this post should be deleted now, and reposted once the site's flash becomes less buggy.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:36 PM on January 31, 2011

I've found it works under Chrome but not Safari (on a mac).

FWIW, when working it's quite enjoyable in an ambient, programmatically-created music sort of way. I wonder how much effort (i.e., trial and error) went into choosing how the line lengths translated into notes and deciding which scale to use.
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2011

The link worked great for me (on Firefox). I enjoyed.
posted by sleevener at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2011

Worked for me on Firefox. Wasn't very interesting -- too slow and so it sounded like an orchestra tuning up.
posted by dhartung at 3:46 PM on January 31, 2011

It's a really nice experiment. WSJ article — I like this part: "Maybe an MTA official will encounter his musical map and decide to feature it as subway art: 'I live on the G line, and they have these unused TV displays down there.'"

I found the extensive system of NYC subway art so much fun as a newcomer to the city; this would be a cool addition. And about the sounds, my friend says "They should crash and shatter, like lightcycles."
posted by dreamyshade at 4:06 PM on January 31, 2011


(BTW, you can pluck the strings/subway lines.)
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:48 PM on January 31, 2011

@jeffburdges, would you happen to have the Flashblock add-on by any chance? I do, and I almost didn't spot the little placeholder thingy which was appearing almost all the way out of my browser's viewable area.
posted by christopherious at 5:05 PM on January 31, 2011

Clarificaiton: Flash is being used for just the audio, which makes missing that audio Flashblock placeholder very easy.
posted by christopherious at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2011

Oh wow, this is so cool! I just love odd coupling of all kinds, including the concept of a stringed instrument and the NYC subway. What an unexpected and amusing combination. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 5:24 PM on January 31, 2011

For those encountering bugs, try this video of the visualization, which is also sped up quite a bit.
posted by jedicus at 6:27 PM on January 31, 2011

oh, hey, I know that guy. He's half of Boy in Static and is The Consulate General, whose page has a fun music maker on it as well.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2011

Is he only taking a few trains at a time or are there really that few live trains at any one time?
posted by doublehappy at 1:20 AM on February 1, 2011

Short Q+A with the creator, here.
posted by shoepal at 3:20 AM on February 1, 2011

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