Using a variety of electronics hooked up to his body, Brian House turned his daily bike route in New York into music.

The guy who made that musical bicycle really needs to meet Brian House, creator of the musical bike commute.

House has been biking from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan for six years, a journey he treasures so much that he's arranged it into a song called "Forty Eight to Sixteen." It's not the kind of tune you would want to jam out to during such a 7.5-mile workout, mind you. Logging in at 35 minutes, the anxious-sounding piece features slashes of repetitive string notes and what sounds like Dennis Hopper breathing through a gas mask in the background.

That last auditory feature is House's own inhalations as he huffed and puffed his way to work. The self-described bricoleur, who exhibited this piece at Chelsea's Eyebeam Art + Technology Center while serving as artist-in-residence, collected biometric details on his commute from heart-rate and breathing monitors, as well as a device to pick up the sound of his peddling. He then handed this raw data over to Topu Lyo, who interpreted each of the tree audio streams into one stacked slab of cello music. Finally, he tuned the composition to video recorded during his cross-borough slog.

House hopes to stage a live performance of "Forty Eight" with a musical trio, saying that "I think that would emphasize the physicality of the process." If you listen to the piece in its entirety and are wondering just how to process it, the artist has this recommendation: "go get on your bike."

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: an open-plan office
    Life

    Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office

    Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.

  2. photo: The Pan-Am Worldport at JFK International Airport, built in 1960,
    Design

    Why Airports Die

    Expensive to build, hard to adapt to other uses, and now facing massive pandemic-related challenges, airport terminals often live short, difficult lives.

  3. Maps

    Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown

    Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

  4. photo: Social-distancing stickers help elevator passengers at an IKEA store in Berlin.
    Transportation

    Elevators Changed Cities. Will Coronavirus Change Elevators?

    Fear of crowds in small spaces in the pandemic is spurring new norms and technological changes for the people-moving machines that make skyscrapers possible.

  5. A woman stares out at crowds from behind a screen, reflecting on a post-pandemic world where exposure with others feels scary.
    Life

    What Our Post-Pandemic Behavior Might Look Like

    After each epidemic and disaster, our social norms and behaviors change. As researchers begin to study coronavirus’s impacts, history offers clues.

×