This day brought a lot of progress in our research projects. Since the final presentation will be on Friday and we rather conducted our plans than developed new thoughts and angles I don’t want to relate all the steps we took right now. But another Walking & Acoustics event was the evening walk that was prepared by members of our group and fellow ethnographer Fritz Schlüter.
The walk had three parts:
- A sound walk guided by Holger Schulze along Mitte’s Ackerstraße to the North.
- A media-enhanced walk Walking in the City – Hidden Sounds and Mobile Places close to the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer using our smartphones which was orchestrated by Fritz Schlüter.
- A dialogue afterwards to express our respective experiences and thoughts.
The media-enhanced walk was based on the mobile app of Radio Aporee, an extensive website collecting and mapping field recordings from all over the world. You can find the walk itself within the app. It is represented on the website as well, but it would be a spoiler to examine it there. It will remain available and is open for everybody’s use.
The basic functionality is depending on attaching sounds to geographic coordinates. With the GPS in our phones the sounds were activated and played when we were standing on a tagged spot. In this way we could walk around and search for the hidden sounds which also were telling us something about walking and mobility in the city. As Fritz Schlüter described it:
“LISTEN to Michel de Certeaus sensitive observations on “Walking in the City” while exploring an area of hidden sounds! Stride across the lawn between the three red dots to discover different field recordings from Berlin. “Walking in the City” could be conceived as a composed piece – at the same time it is a library of field recordings from Berlin to be browsed by walking. In his seminal essay on “Walking in the City”, de Certeau speaks about the richness and strangeness of everyday life, about individual tactics and agency, and the transforming power of practice – in opposition to processes of mapping, standardization, and strategic planning. – – – – – If you like, you can try to map the area according to the following three aspects: 1. Acoustic Horizon: What do you hear in the current recording? Are you outside in the city or inside a building, train… enclosed within any other kind of box? 2. Entropy: What messages or acoustic streams of information can you identify? Listen for clusters of voices, calls, signals, warnings, communication, signs of social life! 3. Sonic Origins: Compare the materialities and the particular affordances of your actual environment to what you hear! Could it be here what you hear? Has the sound possibly been recorded here, just around the corner, or further away? Please share your map with firstname.lastname@example.org to be published at www.sonicagents.wordpress.com ! – – – – – LOCATION: Former border strip of the Berlin Wall between Nordbahnhof, Mauergedenkstätte at Bernauer Straße 119, and the Sophienfriedhof.”
The experience was great and very interesting. This creative use of mobile technology opens up several possible applications in artistic, academic, educational or informational contexts. I am looking forward to getting more familiar with the app and trying to compose a so-called ‘miniature for mobile’ myself!