1. Home
  2. Agencies and Departments
  3. MTA Arts & Design
  4. Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument

Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument

34 St-Herald Sq (B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W)

Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument

Christopher Janney
Artwork in mixed media by Christopher Janney that emits sound.
“Reach New York, An Urban Musical Instrument” (1996) by Christopher Janney at 34 St-Herald Sq. Photo: Gregory Heisler

About the project

A green painted rectangular structure is suspended from the subway platform and engages travelers with its ability to produce sounds. Travelers place their hands in front of the box-like apparatus on the subway platform and a burst of musical notes are released on the opposite side, playing to the person on the other side. The hand motions elicit an outpouring of sounds that evoke urban life and bring about duets between strangers waiting for their respective trains. Artist Christopher Janney creates sound sculptures and public art that use sound and motion. This work brings about interaction and pleased participants, serving in Janney's words, as "a foil for getting total strangers to interact with each other." 

About the artist

Christopher Janney is a pioneer in the field of sound art, merging architecture, sound, light, and interactive technology. For 30 years, Janney has been blending music and light with the physical space in unexpected ways. His work invites the public to engage and connect and turns spectators into participants. Having studied architecture at Princeton and MIT, Janney is also a trained jazz musician. He has created numerous permanent interactive sound and light installations attempting to make architecture more “spontaneous” and music more “physical.” Janney’s innovative use of technology, sound, and architecture in his projects has won him numerous awards.