Lowrider symphony: Hot hopping-car orchestra performs

An orchestra of tricked-out custom cars takes to a parking lot to perform a synchronized dance and music piece using hydraulics, a wireless audio system, and a DJ.

Cutlass from lowrider symphony
This Cutlass, nicknamed Orange Juice, took a hopping solo. Amanda Kooser/CNET

Take a lowrider car club. Add a couple of artists. Throw in some wireless audio technology. Do some choreography. Practice for four months. Roll it all out in a parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M. Congratulations, you've just created a lowrider symphony.

Lowrider Line 6 wireless systems
Wireless audio systems in each car synchronized the music. Amanda Kooser/CNET

Officially called "Symphony 505," a reference to one of New Mexico's two area codes, the performance piece took place during ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness, a collection of art, science, and technology events with an international conference.

I caught the event on a warm New Mexico Sunday evening. It was equal parts baffling and fascinating. The cars moved about the parking lot, sometimes following each other, sometimes making their own purposeful paths.

Music eked out from the sound systems, controlled by a remote DJ. Synchronized horn honking and revved engines became a part of the performance. It all finally came together at the end when the cars circled up together and the beats poured out of straining speakers, a singer adding live vocals to the mix.

This orchestra of autos was a collaboration between the Down Low Car Club and artists Christopher Marianetti and Mary Margaret Moore. Lowrider culture is woven into the fabric of New Mexico, but I've never seen it presented quite like this before.

The balletic movements and ear-shaking finale all received plenty of appreciation from the crowd, but the biggest reaction was saved for a classic lowrider move: the hop. An orange 1983 Cutlass took a rhythmic solo in the middle of the show, bouncing up and down with the help of a remote control. When you're bouncing that high, you can't really safely have a rider inside. It hopped so hard, sparks flew out the back end.

Check out highlights (hopping included) from the performance below.

 

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