For thousands of travelers in the northeast corridor, the Fung Wah bus is a cheap lifeline between cities. It’s the original Chinatown bus line, the unofficial “public transportation” for the Boston-Washington corridor. It’s famous for its $15 tickets, its white-knuckle driving, even the occasional bus fire. But it’s also famous for the stories it generates. Passengers have heard marriage proposals, have woken from drug-induced fugue states en route to New York, have had illicit love affairs with ballerinas they met on the road. Even the owner of the Fung Wah, Pei Lin Liang, has a story—as a master Chinese opera musician, his is about immigrant experience and artistic expression.
This MEGAPOLIS installation explored the larger story of the bus: the popular myths of its origins, the experience of its riders, the realities of Liang’s immigrant experience, and the music he creates as a release from it. All these stories are part of a non-linear narrative, and used low-wattage FM transmitters to broadcast bits of audio, interviews, etc from hidden locations throughout the North Arts District. By walking with a small radio tuned to one frequency, listeners can discover the story piece-by-piece, gradually revealing the greater Fung Wah experience as they explore.
Here are some stories you might have heard along your journey: