M5 Sights and Sounds

Step on board. Metallic cocoon. Shielded space. Muffled noises. Is there less inside or outside? I’m here. Beep at me. Do you know I’m staring at you? Noises and patterns breed deafness and sameness. Roaring sounds from the back shifts its pitch up and down. Coughs, sneezes, whines, and screams. It’s quiet. Or am I just numb? Nobody speaks. The driver doesn’t announce the stops. Spaces shift. Volumes collide. Everyone is just here to transport their motionless bodies. Sit, stand, but don’t move if the bus is moving. Shielded sounds penetrate through glass. Sirens reverberate. Honks. Car stereos. Worthy of attention? Ears numb to the droning. Is that the sound of this engine or the truck next to us? Is it the air conditioning or the transmission? Pressure mixing gasses. Numbness to motion. Waves of stopping, starting, accelerating. Sounds synchronize with jerking bodies. We’re all part of this moving orchestra, but nobody is listening. Beep. Why are you so loud? Slices of the same. Patterns make differences remarkable. Everything sounds the same. Difference in change. Walk along this bus. You’ll fit for a few frames, but soon we’ll be on our way. Hug the sidewalk. Bow down to greet them. Step up to greet us. Join this moving orchestra. Ringing. Talking. Whispering is relative. Desensitized to the noise, we talk to whisper. We share our stories. Baseball, PSX, ramblings of a web designer. Freedom is when familiarity becomes numb. Do we mix or should we choose to separate? Invisible volumes of privacy overlap. Where do you choose to fit? Parallel or perpendicular? Folded or unrolled? Layering is inevitable. This space moves so we can share this numbness together. Motives for moving, filter in at each stop. Numbness brings light to the other. Clicks, snaps, shrieks, rings, and creeks. Some heads turn. All ears turn. How do we close our ears? Vision focused. Ears numb. Beep. Roar. All ears focused.


M5 Sights and Sounds: [Download Mac App]
The image and sound sequence is a reconstruction of the M5 bus ride from La Guardia place to the George Washington Bridge and back. The the low humming of the bus engine is digitally removed to highlight what we choose to hear in our experiences on the bus. Do we really notice the humming or the bus? Or is the ringing of a cell phone more noteworthy? We overhear conversations supposedly drowned by the bus’s hum, but we somehow pick up every word.

340 images from the bus ride are shown in sequence and triggered when a chosen frequency surpasses a set volume. Each honk, beep, or shout, triggers the next image. The view from a bus window, reconstructed as slices through a sound-scape.

Please play the application with the speakers on and an internet connection ( to stream the audio). The piece runs for approximately 15 minutes. 340 images are displayed synced to a digitally manipulated soundtrack, then the slivers of images are drawn over with dark strips according to the original soundtrack in reverse.