Strangers On A Train
Public transport is a unique enclosed and yet public environment. It is one of the few situations where people of clashing cultures, attitudes and priorities meet and sit side by side. Forced together for one sole and necessary purpose, it breeds loose conversation and a disregard for personal space and privacy. You can hear a lot on the steel grapevine.
I was delighted to contribute a sound art piece for Sight and Sound, a group exhibition which featured as part of the Strangelove International Time Based Arts Festival. The piece was installed in Folkestone’s Strange Cargo Gallery and went by the title Strangers On A Train.
Using a combination of field recordings made on daily commutes, a soundscape was created and recorded to an infinite loop tape. The output of this was wired to a pair of stripped speakers joined by an all-thread bolt. This contraption sat on the strings of a hand-built lap guitar like structure and the output was sent directly to an amplifier. The piece aimed to explore the nature and culture of public transport, the soundscapes generated by conversation and the overbearing drone of the under appreciated machine. The piece was designed as both a listening device and an instrument, building on the recorded soundscape with the resonances created by string vibration.