The concept of the final prototype was developed around the matter of collective experience through auditory senses. The goal was to reinforce the user’s empathy and communication with space and inhabitants through emotional canals. Memory was considered to be the key element that could lead to stronger social bonds so as to reactivate the urban space as a place of interaction. Transforming the observer in to a listener and the act of listening in to an active agent of cross-fertilization, we pursuit a feedback that triggers one’s personal experience of collective awareness.
Working on the metropolitan city of Athens as the case study, we strategically divided the city in layers that represented different ambiences according to topography, built environment and voids, natural elements and inhabitants. The analysis of each area was achived by documentation process recordings, to represent the relationships between site specificity and our final prototype of an artificial interactive environment.
Through a critical engagement with technology, the Sound Tectonics team created an interactive environment that was build upon the idea of using one’s own experience as the influential agent that ‘organically’ emerges from the navigation of the user within the structure. Five boxes of different sizes were placed in different distances from each other, each representing one of the previously analyzed areas of the city. Their different volumes were reflecting the diverse perception of distances between the sound source and the position of the listener.
As part of one system created and installed in an indoor space with the absence of light, the interactive environment used controlled light sources as an inviting component that attracts people to enter part of their body in each hollow box structure. Eager to become part of the experience, the visitors were triggering motion sensors that in their part, were turning the lights off to give their turn to reproduced and edited sounds of the city. In this system, light and darkness were reversely related to sound and silence. The chosen sounds were manipulated in order to expose some highlights of our city drift, incorporating the city’s ambient sounds. One’s own experience could affect the listening experience of the rest of the users. This state was noticeable only when all boxes were occupied, through reproduction of an ironic composition of sounds that suggested enforcement power contradicting with sounds of individual joy. A composition that aimed to highlight the political extend of a social gathering that is occasionally considered by police to be a threatening constitution, especially in the so-called, by some, ’wastelands’ of the urban environment.
The visitor’s experience was based on their physical presence in space, together with their acoustic experience. In this way we meant to isolate the senses, only to combine them again when they all reach the state of starting to experience a social assembly. Along these lines, laid one of the main notions of the project that is to force the user to re-evaluate his sensory perceptions and understand the social impact that these may have. This chain reaction contributes to the formation of an emotional state, based not only on memories, but on gathering empirical evidence of how we could effectively reconnect with spaces and people around us.
Project Team :
Tutors: Daniel Canogar, Javier Pena Galiano, Jon Goodbun, John Grzinich, Santiago Vilanova, Nota Tsekoura, Nastazia Spyropoulou, Anna Laskari, Tassos Kanelos
Participants: Ioli Belezini, Natalie Barton, Daphne Dimopoulou, Maria Galani, Yoranda Kassanou, Marirena Kladeftira, Konstantinos Kosmas, Dimitrios Mavrokefalos, Dickie Webb
Special thanks to: Konstantinos Souvatzoglou, Marilena Georgatzi, Nileta Kotsikou
Venue: The British Hellenic College -Athens
Raw sounds from Sound Tectonics workshop research could be found at: sound tectonics soundcloud and at Radio Aporee maps under the search : sound tectonics
Sample sound from sound tectonics field recordings: