April 27, 2011

Kendall Square Subway Chime machine

Kendall Square is the stop on the MTA closest to M.I.T.  I saw this Chime machine on a trip with Jacob to the Boston Anime Festival. 

First you pull on a handle:

Note the engraving "Kendall Band - Pythagoras" - Math is everywhere!

View onto the tracks - the Chimes sit between the outbound and inbound trains

 As you pull/push the handle, the hammers swing back and forth and hit the chime pipes - making a calming pleasant sound.  People look up and smile.  Sometimes someone goes to the handle on the other side of the tracks and begins a duet with you!

Little boys ran over to pull the handle when they saw how much fun we were having!

Pulling hard doesn't hurt the chimes or make it sound bad!  Great design!

Jacob told me the MTA had put out an e-mail appeal to MIT for help  fixing the Chimes.  Students fixed it!  (see also http://kendallband.wordpress.com/about/the-kendall-band/)  I also only saw the Pythagoras part of the installation - there is also a Kepler part and a Galileo part.  I guess I'll have to see them when I return.

Here is a movie of the Chimes taken with my camera.  Enjoy!
There are also videos on the Wiki page for the Kendall Band - originally designed and constructed by Paul Matisse, son of Henri Matisse.  Excellent work Paul - glad the students could take over care and repair.

There is so much public art in the US, and so little in China.  I wish for more public art in China - and more appreciation of public art  in the US.


  1. What a wonderful instillation. Maybe you will have to do a collaborative instillation with Chinese Artists in China....mmmmmmmm....

  2. Like the Griotchic says, an instillation . . yeah, yeah that's the ticket! How can you make this happen with fabric . . that's the question!

    I am seriously going to have to go hear those chimes in person now! Seeing the kid wouldn't be a hardship either. You coming stateside this summer?