Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam Project

References and purpose

The main influence for this project is my hometown Bogota. It is a chaotic city. It was originally planned as a “damero” squared kind of city, but then it became an ever expanding place with only one constant: improvisation. The transportation system and also the street and highways where not improved as the city expanded because of different social and economic dynamics. More and more population came from the country side to the city running away from violence and looking for work and better opportunities at factories and new enterprises. Transportation system hasn’t been public, so bus companies have been sabotaging the building of the subway for more than a hundred years. For almost every mayor election, one of the main subjects is building the subway. There are more sketches and studies for building the subway than words in the Coran, Bible and Thora all together…

So that’s why in Bogota we spend a lot of time stuck in traffic jams. We have no choices like the subway. If we use the bike it’s dangerous because of lack of safe routes and the reckless driving of people. Some people spend two and a half hours on busses or cars going to work and the same on their way back. It’s a serious issue. The quality of those hours is terrible also, it’s not possible to read or even seat in most cases. So you have two options, to be patient and laugh or stress out and suffer a heart attack… But we definitely have to change this situation urgently.

For this project I have many references. The second one might be the futurist movement in early 20th century in Italy. They where interested in technology and they even worshiped new technology and wanted to break the links to the past and almost all tradition. They ended up showing many contradictions in their works of arts and ways of doing art, that’s why we can go to Museums and see their works of art (made in traditional materials as bronze and paining on canvas). They wanted to burn museums but now their works are displayed at the most “important” ones or more mainstream at least.

Something that interested me was how ridiculous their performances and sound pieces seemed to people and would also sound to us if they did them now. Also how the machines that they worshiped seem so outdated now and obsolete compared to newer versions. Also there is the dada movement and their love for creating imaginary machines or useless machines, which could be seen as ways of pointing out how technology on it’s own hasn’t improved mankind at least from a moral point of view.

So this project is a way of disrupting routine with a performative sound and visual experience. The idea is generating a playful simulation of the city landscape and some of the actors. The idea is creating a tension between noise and music. Teasing the audience so they react in their own way, but they will think about our ways of living in the city and also about the current use of technologies as cars, trains, buses and other transport systems. The idea is for everyone to feel invited to really dream about how they would like to move around in the city in some years and also about how will the city soundscape will be in the not to distant future. Also that the audience to have fun and to be engaged in playing “music” or “noise” and interacting with others like everyone interacts in the streets….

There are millions of other references, just to name a few: Science fiction stories and films: Blade runner. Tv shows like the Simpsons and Futurama. 80’s show Automan, The Transformers, Disney’s Cars, among many others…

Where to do it?

This could work in different formats of happenings. I think it would be more interesting to do this in quiet places like parks or others, to create a contrast form the noise of streets. Also to reinforce the absurdity of the noise that is being produced.


I think this should look teasing as toys and musical instruments. It has to create a desire to be engaged and also not being to fancy or complex to intimidate potential users.


At least 3 instruments to be available for people to play with them. Also a CD player with recorded tracks that play different music. People can choose to interact with that music or just with the sound they are producing.

Some keywords

Humor vs criticism / sense vs none-sense / noise vs music or harmony / fancy vs trashy / serious vs funny / Ridiculous vs important / Musical talent vs non musically talented / Kids and adults / Individual vs collective / divergent / fun / play / inviting / Traffic problems / questions / solutions / debate /connections.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *