The Davis Square Symphony

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The Davis Square Symphony (2018) transforms traffic patterns in Davis Square, Somerville, MA, into an orchestral score.
Miller shot Davis Square from five different angles in the four different seasons and edited the film to be musical. Each season has its own harmony: spring is the most consonant, winter the most dissonant. Scored for full orchestra, vehicles become strings, pedestrians become wind instruments, bicycles become snare drums, etc.. Using a post-John Cage composition approach of his own devising, chords and motifs he could never have consciously planned appear in true beauty. The music is dictated by the initial conditions e created, and the mundane world of street traffic is transformed.

HERE is a link for the film. It was part of Miller’s installation “Transmuting the Prosaic” at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, March 15 – Oct.12, 2020.

The Davis Square Symphony is supported in part by a grant from the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a grant from the Awesome Foundation. Thanks to Somerville Cable Access Television, Jesse Kreitzer, Debra McLaughlin, and Joanne Kaliontzis.

It has been suggested that this idea can be applied to any location, not un-like Christo’s work. Like Miller’s other compositions utilizing natural phenomena (which traffic patterns ultimately are), the translation of the world into music can adapt to the situation at hand.