Lighter side of branding | NYC Subway map makes music

Conductor: from Alexander Chen on Vimeo.

Alexander-Chen_creator-of-NYC-Subway-SoundsFascinating! Take a listen to this multimedia experiment, created by Brooklyn-based Alexander Chen, who was inspired by Italian graphic designer, Massimo Vignelli original design for the NYC Subway Map. All the routes come to life through music in a very surprising way. Be patient when you start watching it. The first note doesn’t hit until almost 1 minute later!

Alexander Chen, a programmer and designer that used HTML 5 and Vignelli’s map to turn to the mass transit system into a playable musical instrument, is essentially an interactive NYC subway map that has been turned into a musical instrument with the transit lines as the strings.

So how it works is that the crossing train lines “pluck” each other’s strings. The subway map is an ideal instrument to pluck, thanks to the rectiliner design of Vignelli’s map. But the best part is the interactivity: users/viewers can also pluck at the strings with their mouse.

The behind-the-scenes bit is what makes this project even more interesting. Chen drew on the real-time subway schedule to guide his animation. He explains on his blog, that the piece “begins in realtime by spawning trains which departed in the last minute, then continues accelerating through a 24 hour loop”.

The map generates music, where the length of the train line determines the pitch, with longer strings playing lower notes.

Inspiration: Design INDABA

About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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