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Tweeting Snake and Singing Map: Brilliant Things Other People Have Done

March 29, 2011

1. Tweeting Snake

This is “viral” enough that you likely know about it, however, in case you don’t:

A young cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo. No one can find it. This is clearly a problem.

But on the funny side, someone has set up a Twitter account,  speaking for the snake, about wandering around New York. It is hilarious. Read below for another brilliant thing someone else has done.

2. Musical Subway Map

In 1972, a graphic designer called Massimo Vignelli created a map of the subway system. It’s over-simplified — trains only run at 45 or 90 degree angles, and it’s not to scale — but it’s neat-looking. You can see it here.

an exerpt of the Massimo Vignelli map

Now, a composer named Alexander Chen has taken the map and created a musical composition out of it. I think it’s based on actual train schedules. Minutes move very quickly on a clock down in the lower left corner, and when two trains intersect, there is a plucking, stringed-instrument sound. You can also pluck the lines yourself.


a screenshot of Alexander Chen's "composition"

It’s been on ambiently here for a few hours while we make playdough, make my son dinner, and feed him while I get started on our own dinner. The “music” is vaguely Japanesey sounding. Mostly I like the idea of taking something reflective of an actual system — in this case, a map of something familiar —and setting up another system for it to follow to make noise, and then listening and watching the idea. Take a look and a listen! The piece is called, which is also where it is located.

I’d like to note that WNYC news covered both of these things today. I only stole the second piece of news from them; the first piece is something I suggested that they cover, yesterday. So there!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Axuve Espinosa permalink
    March 29, 2011 9:56 pm

    I like.

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