Urban Songlines: Reterritorializing Public Space by Translating Buildings into Music

Allard van Hoorn

conference: DARE 2015: the dark precursor
date: November 10, 2015
venue: De Bijloke Music Center, Rotonde
format: in words
practice: music and sound
keywords: architecture, site-specificity, sound installation

abstract video about the author(s)


The tradition of Songlines, a system for navigating and connecting to their land among Australian Aborigines, can be translated to mapping urban space by creating music from its topography, initiating a discussion on how we use and experience the public domain and to what degree we can claim ownership over it. In this project I translate buildings, sites, and objects in public space into music, working site-specifically with architects, designers, dancers, musicians, and choreographers to rethink our relationship to the city. The “Urban Songlines” created are given away to DJs for free, allowing these places, transposed in space and time through sampling, to be shared and (re)experienced.


about the author(s)

Allard van Hoorn

Allard van Hoorn (29 February 1968, Leiden, NL) is a performance, sound, and installation artist who creates work that examines our relationship with urban landscapes and our systems of classification. He visually and acoustically translates the built environment and nature to call into question our preconceived notions and perceptions of the spaces we inhabit. His work has been and will be presented in biennials and triennials such as Bucharest (art, 2016), Tbilisi (art, 2015), Havana (art, 2015), Istanbul (art, 2015 and 2013), Gwangju (design, 2011), and Shenzhen (urbanism and architecture, 2013) and in institutions such as Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and Rosenthal Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati. He has tutored at the Architectural Association Interprofessional Studio, the Royal College of Art, London, and the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. He has created content for publications such as Domus, Volume/Archis, and Urban China.

info & contact


Independent sound artist, NL