a line soundscape – listen and co-compose


What does a bus corridor sound like?  How do its sounds reveal stories of place?

In A Line Soundscape, a new audio artwork by Christopher DeLaurenti, the sounds of King County’s first RapidRide corridor are expressed as a sonic portrait.  A temporary public art project commissioned by 4Culture and King County Metro, Chris spent the summer and early fall of 2010 exploring the A Line route, capturing its many sounds along International Boulevard between Tukwila and Federal Way.  The result: an audio artwork that brings attention to discrete sounds, sound patterns, and to the act of listening.

“By layering everyday, often overlooked sounds, I hope that these new contexts make ordinary sounds not so ordinary after all,” Christopher explains.


Mining the route and its proximate surroundings, Christopher, a long-time bus-rider who produced his first field recordings aboard Metro buses and at its stops, encountered and recorded a plethora of audio activity.  The field recordings he selected for this audio portrait range from amplified resonances of abandoned houses to serendipitous interviews on the street.  Together, they capture and create a confluence of speech, silence, sound and place.  Chris describes them as “secret songs of your surroundings.”

Online at http://ALineAudio.4Culture.org, you can interact with the art in seven languages, using three sliders to adjust the file-play and co-compose your own soundscape experience.  Chris meta-tagged the field recordings in accordance to three poetic continuums: past – future, mysterious – obvious, and relax – explore.

“I hope the continuums of poetic terms capture the similar patterns of how I heard sound and speech flowing along the corridor,” Christopher says.  “While the terms are subjective, just like my own impressions, they capture the mood and invite interaction.”

By phone, you can call 206.651.5981 to sit back and listen to the audio files play in a version customized for cell phones.

For the full bodied experience, hop on board an A Line bus and call in or log on to encounter the sounds of the corridor as its horizon rolls by.  The buses are Wifi-enabled, so you can bring your laptop, smart phone or simply use your cell phone to call in and listen.

To hear more about the project, in the artist’s own words visit the Public Art Tumblr blog

RapidRide is King County Metro’s new bus rapid transit service.  The A Line is the first of six corridors of service that will launch between 2010 and 2013 to provide fast and frequent service.  Public Art for RapidRide creates unique transit experiences, experiences that open riders’ eyes and ears to a new understanding of a familiar bus ride, deepening connections to the places in which we live and travel.

© A Line Soundscape bus placard, detail by 4Culture.

© Christopher DeLaurenti at the launch of A Line service, photo by Sara Edwards.