The goal of the workshop is to create a sound map of the area around the conference and compose a soundwalk using mobile phones and GPS to augment the sensorial dimensions of experiencing the city. We offer to participants the use of Android mobile phones, headphones, software, and recording equipment. Participants are advised to bring their own laptops and Android OS devices if possible, although Akoo-o can provide a number of mobile phones. The workshop will be scheduled as follows:
(1) Theory (distinction of sound walks, listening walks, audio walks; promenadology; public space art; link with the Deleuzian notion of nomadism and rhizome; locative media art). (2) Walk around the area of the conference venue to get acquainted with conscious listening and the specific site; field recordings of the area. (3) Editing the audio material (field recordings); acquaintance with editing software and basic techniques. (4) noTours (getting acquainted with this open source locative media platform to create a sound walk using the area map). (5) Walk to the area to listen to the soundwalk. (6) Discussion.
Participants are inducted into the process of soundscape composition, sound design, and sound mapping within the framework of site-specific artistic practice and promenadology and are familiarised with the use of innovative locative media applications. We will exemplify in practice field recording techniques and sound editing, as well as reproduction and sound composition based on the map of the city, using the open-source platform “noTours.” noTours (http://www.notours.org/) is an open-source software platform developed by escoitar.org collective for creating site-specific and interactive artistic works with the use of locative media technology, which results in an environment of “augmented aurality” within public space.
Starting from the situationist practice of “derive” and the Deleuzian concept of “nomadism,” we create itineraries that escape from concrete urban planning—which is primarily visual, geometrically aligned, and panoptically designed. We suggest a new cartographic model that could represent various layers of perception and experience of urban space and is based on mobility rather than stasis: this would include time as a fourth dimension, the subjective glance, the relational and emotional layers of experience; finally, it should be open to a polyphonic narration about space, at the process of its transformation into place. Strolling within an aurally augmented city is an open-ended artistic gesture that is ready to be reinterpreted and retoured by each listener. noTours is a tool for détournement and moving, appropriating the popular format of tourist guides and transforming it into a medium for non-touring and non-guiding.
The notion of “augmented aurality,” as used in the artistic practice of soundwalks, consists of intervening in space using audio means. It is an experience of immersion in a hybrid environment between material and potential reality, which employs the multiple levels of the constantly transforming notion of public space. As Deleuze and Guattari imply, many social activities, including art, can constitute a war-machine drawing, “a plane of consistency, a creative line of flight, a smooth place of displacement,” by reforming or acting against dominant systems and/or practices. In the case of soundwalking, nomadism is not relevant because it suggests fleeing the city but because it proposes wandering as resistance to the city’s confined and bordered space. In these soundscape compositions narratives prevail, communities acquire space and voice, and buildings are not the mere subjects of a sightseeing tour; the city is not a collection of historical information but a space to aurally, artistically, and socially wander within the microframes this space rhizomatically consists of. Music and narrative become tools; leaving behind ethnography, documentary, score, concert hall, museums, and institutions, they become pliable materials, fragments of a living organism, of a city-score whose music is made by and is addressed to people. Actually the notion of nomadism and war machine apply here “as a war of becoming over being, of the sedentary over the nomadic.”
Nevertheless, one should not assume that locative media soundwalking is in itself an act of drift against dominant systems. Locative media technology relies upon the ultimate panoptical device, satellite supervision, which in turn is adopted within the lures of postmodern, immaterial capitalism. But as the capitalisation of individual movement establishes itself alongside the colonisation of private space by “dotcom neoliberalism,” it is the movement between milieux, the reflection upon our shifting habitat, and the détournement of the parts of a well-oiled machine that can give us the ability to escape from a stagnant structure. From this perspective, we tend to view the work of art as a process, a dialogue between fields, a discursive negotiation with our social, physical, and digital environment, and an approach that reflects on the way the workshop is performed.