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Arts & Culture

Inbound: Houston

This exciting new project creates a timed soundtrack to accompany an otherwise ordinary drive from the edge of Houston’s sprawl to the city center. Along the way, 13 artist-designed billboards interact with the music and the landscape that contains them. Follow the directions to download the performance to your ipod/mp3 player or burn it to a CD, then follow the directions to drive the route for the full experience.


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From the artist:  Inbound: Houston is a public art project on view from October 26 — November 22, 2009, created during my artist residency with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. The project converts 13 billboard advertisements on Houston’s freeways to photographic representations of the landscape that exists directly behind the billboard structures. The physicality of the billboard structure remains visible — a reminder of the “real fiction” seen. An homage to both Magritte’s painting The Human Condition and the quiet billboard “ads” of Felix Gonzales Torres, my aim is to surprise and awaken daily commuters, specifically engaging morning commuters, with images that begin to unclutter the freeway as they momentarily disappear.

The ubiquitous commute — getting from point A to B — is often accompanied by sound, whether it’s the morning news on talk radio or an iPod attached to the sound system. For Inbound: Houston, two student composers from University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, Joel Love and Paul Wadle, created a “soundtrack” for these altered billboards. My desire was to make the driving experience more elastic and layered—experienced as a sort of holding pattern by creating a space for self-reflection and complete consciousness. I hope the pairing of the musical score and the billboard images will instigate a visceral and palpable response—a heightened awareness of the present moment and one’s physical being in the “now.”
— Karyn Olivier
“Inbound: Houston” is presented by the Mitchell Center in collaboration with
the UH Moores School of Music, KUHF, Creative Capital, DiverseWorks, and CBS Outdoor.

Karyn Olivier