Visual Art

Symphony of the Subway

The subway system of New York City is good for a lot of things. Like making you late for work/movies/dinner/dates, basically anything you can name.

The little red flower makes it classy

Subway tracks are a great place to find interesting… occurrences. I found this, well, I guess it’s a wishing fountain in the middle of the tracks (Nassau Ave. G train if anyone wants to marvel at its glory).

Yes, that is water bubbling and gurgling. And yes, it appears that people have started chucking loose change at it, perhaps to appease the subway gods to send the trains on time for once.

But another thing about the subway system is that apparently, it can inspire to creativity. And I don’t just mean some of the best graffiti ever

I saw this video a few weeks ago and it really made me happy. It was made by Google programmer Alexander Chen. He used Massimo Vignelli’s infamous 1972 subway system map as the basis for his design.

Try opening that video in 3 tabs and see how it sounds!.  You can also go to the program’s website to see it in full screen and you can also pluck the ‘strings’ and interact with it. And don’t forget to check out Chen’s blog for all the fancy technical details.

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Brian George

Brian George

Brian George is an illustrator who lives and works in the Van Beardswick neighborhood of Brooklyn. His fierce love of cheesecake is often (but not always) thwarted by his intolerance for lactose. He will draw and paint for your amusement (‘amusement’ is archaic Etruscan slang for ‘money’). Visit his portfolio, follow his tweets @brianggeorge or on G+

2 Comments

  1. September 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    And you know at 33rd street there’s a cool art thing where you can actually play music?

    Above your head and across the tracks from platform to platform there are lasers or something with a beam from point to point.

    When you put your hand up and break the beam, it makes a note. There are eight of these, and they are each a note of a octave.

    If you go to that station early enough or late enough with a few good pals, you can do re mi!

  2. September 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Hi A! I have played with that music making thingy before! Can’t remember exactly where it is, but now I want to get a bunch of folks together and make subway music 🙂

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