Sound Development City

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Summer Expeditions - Sound Development City - 2012 Oct 08


File:Sdc-lodon01.jpg During this summer I have participated in the Sound Development City 2012 expeditions. I will try to give an overview of what they meant to me.
I see SDC as an artistic residency of a peculiar kind. The expeditions took place in three different periods, each lasting four days, in three European cities: Berlin, London, Zurich. And joined 11 artists, from various artistic disciplines, whose practice either dealt with sound or cities, or in same cases both.

In each city an invited artist would work with the group and showed us the city according to his/her vision and practice.In Berlin, we had sound artist Sam Auinger who took us on walks framed by the city's history (both distant and recent) and its aural architecture.

Mediengruppe Bitnik were our guides to London, where they handed us CCTV wireless camera receivers and left us to roam the city in search for video signals emanating from wireless surveillance cameras. This was still the Olympic London with extensive branding, security, and the Olympic park buzzing just across a quiet water stream (as well as barbed wire, bouncers, and anti-vehicle protections) from our work-space.

In Zurich, Jacques van Poppel was our guide, to silence. The quest for it brought us to a lake, quite some kilometers away from the city. Once back we were taken a dusty and old Zurich, in the shelves of a second-hand shop, 'Get an object, you will do a performance with it!' we were told.

Although most of us came over with specific projects to be realized in course of the expeditions, space was given to alter our initial plan, forge collaborations, and explore other possible venues, resulting from the interaction between participants, guest artists and the city.
Two of the projects strike me as good examples of the kind of work developed in the course of the journey, and which tell us something about each of the visited cities, were Steve Rosenthal's "gay" poems and D-Fuse's taxi videos. Steve took messages left on his profile at various gay social networks (Gaydar, Gayromeo, etc), composed a poem for each city based on this text material, and invited a local actor to interpret the poem. Steve's work seems to tap into a hidden layer of the city, an underground world made of desires, slang, mixed languages, and large amounts of humor.
D-Fuse's taxi videos consisted of a series of interviews with taxi drivers - the city guide per excellence. Naturally, extremely dependent on the driver they happened to invite, mostly of the journeys be a fun and excursion to the city they drove through, seen by their eyes.
As for myself I came to SDC journeys with the intention to develop an online map for each city, in which its sounds could be attached to. It would create a remote ear in each city. Although I didn't entirely discard this idea, I ended-up developing it beyond my initial plan. It happened mainly as a result of the interactions with the group, and the growing pile of digital materials collected in each city, at each walk. During Berlin's expedition I was asking all the participants to bring me the materials they collected, which I'd place on the online map. The process quickly became tedious, and too dependent on me. I began wondering what if anyone could place the materials they collected on to the map? Sound, video, photos could easily be uploaded and attached to a location. Materials could serve not only be exposed and shared, but also our work progresses could be shown, and anyone from within our outside the project could contribute. As a result, for the last two expeditions, I went on to implementing the map (and solving many bugs), using Open Street Maps imagery, Leaflet framework, and contributions from my fellow artists. The map can currently be visited at although only Chrome, Opera and Safari are ale to read it smoothly (my apologies).

Sdc-lodon03-map.jpg Sdc-berlin01.jpg File:Sdc-all 02.jpg Photos by Lena Emery and Jan Roeder

2012_10_08 Blog

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