Walking & Acoustics – KOSMOS Summer University Mobility 2013 – Sunday & Monday

Last Sunday was the start of this years KOSMOS Summer University at the Institute of Cultural History and Theory and the cluster of excellency Image – Knowledge – Gestaltung here at the Humboldt-University:

“Together with experts from Sao Paulo (Universidade de Sao Paulo) and Bogotá (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) the KOSMOS Summer University Mobility 2013 »Modern Walking« will take place from Sept. 15 to Sept. 21, 2013. The goal is to develop and discuss new forms of mobility in urban space within the concept of walking as an efficient, energy saving and sustainable model of transport. The experiments and results will be exhibited on Sept. 21, 17 h. at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory in the Sophienstr. 22, Berlin.”

One of the four groups is dedicated to the study of  “Walking & Acoustics”. As a member of this group, I want to share some thoughts and experiences during this week on this blog.

After the introduction on Sunday the first real work session on Monday was quite demanding, because one week is not very much time to grasp a topic and conduct a project with an outcome-oriented perspective. We included some sound walking on Alexanderplatz and around Monbijoupark and the Spree before we continued to our workspace to refine our rough ideas from the very beginning.

We came up with four groups of elements:

Between these, we drafted 3 x 2 preliminary research questions:

  • What is the meaning of a (sonic) signal?
  • Is there a collective/cultural memory of sounds?


  • How is sound stored architecturally?
  • Are urban surfaces designed acoustically?


  • How do sounds trigger walking?
  • Where is the threshold between noise and information?


Afterwards we briefly devised three experiments to explore these issues in the urban environment. After some further development today, I might present you the set-ups tomorrow.


Of course, thoughts and suggestions are more than welcome!