Performance creates live composition in response to traffic patterns

Have you ever seen a black car drive by and wanted to shake your egg maraca? Or spotted a green taxi and been compelled to make a loud animal noise?

On Sunday, dozens of New Yorkers had the chance to do just that during Honk 210Hz’s participatory sound performance featured as part of the Make Music New York festival this year.

The performance was held on the High Line observatory above 10th Avenue at 17th Street, where nine singers in large yellow hats and a filtering audience created a live sound composition in reaction to the changing patterns of the traffic going on directly beneath them.

Noise Makers, bird whistles and various small percussion instruments were distributed among the crowd, who were then asked to use specific instruments when observing specific traffic patterns. 

When a white car was spotted beneath the observatory, people wielding bells would enthusiastically set to jingling, and each time a bicycle zoomed by below, participants were asked to suddenly break into uproarious laughter.

An uninformed passerby may have had the sneaking impression that the first-day-of-summer heat was causing a mass form of hysteria on the High Line. But if it was, it was spreading, as crowds continued to trickle in and out of the communal performance into the night.