Turning the New York Subway System into an Interactive String Instrument

The data visualization “Conductor” by Alexander Chen 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. Each time a train crossed the line of another train, you hear a cello pizzicato sound pitched according to the length of the line. You can find the interactive version (where you can also pluck the strings at will) at www.mta.me or watch the video below.

Special Tip: Open www.mta.me in 2 or 3 tabs simultaneously to get a great sound experience.


If you are interested in the technical implementation of “Conductor”, read the project description at Chen’s Blog.