Doug Aitken’s Station to Station, which took a crew of visual artists and musicians from New York to California aboard a nine-car train, brought together digitized modern creativity and the distinctly analog appeal of the great American road trip. They rode the rails, they performed, they stopped and collaborated with locals, and streamed it all online. Now Aitken has synthesized the three-week experience into a documentary of 62 one-minute highlights, available on iTunes starting Jan. 15.

In the above clip from the documentary, data visualization artist Aaron Koblin (now the CTO of virtual reality company Vrse) explains Light Echoes, the product of a collaboration between himself and director Ben Trickleback. In Koblin’s words, it’s their way of “mapping the history of the train on top of the landscape.” The twist is that their cartography is accomplished with a giant array of lasers projecting images onto train tracks. The vividly colored result is a trail of light that looks as organic as it does alien.

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Video: This Rig Paints Train Tracks With Vivid Lasers