This independent project started in 2013, during the development of my MSc thesis Soundtracking Paths research which it kept evolving into the shape of workshops and mobile apps experiments.
I’ll describe each more in depth below:
This piece of work intend to exercise premisses of speculative design, questioning the traditional musical album format and its role in our current times.
1. A location-based mix taping platform
A parallel to the tape recorder era (the first to allow people to intervene more drastically on the structure of musical albums) making use of GPS tagging we will explore outdoor city spaces with poetic musical intents. We aim to discuss parallel activities such as bringing closeness between the mix-tape composer and the receiver of the path-tape.
The mobile app interactions will translate the idea of closeness between two people generated via a mix-tape. One will propose the mix and the other will walk along this path-tape freely. A private performance in a public shared environment.
The differential here is the invitation to enjoy a friend's pre-select music exclusively while walking in pre-designed physical spaces (also selected by the friend). When discovering these areas, the receiver will acknowledge emotions related to the musical layer and space. Perhaps he/she will be encouraged to visit the space more often and renew its interpretations of that path-tape. The listener will also be able to intervene, as the term by Frauke Behrendt “walk as remixing” may remind us. Once the stroller is choosing the directions and pace of the walk, he will consequently intervene on the structure (sequence of the music and duration) of the locative-mix-tape.
New elements can be studied for more interesting transitions among songs/spaces and for that we may count with the collaboration of local musicians, sound artists or curious_beings.
2. Sonic tourism
We explore in this workshop the premisses of sonic tourism and new ways of making accessible local music production. A GPS tagged platform that allows local musicians to exhibit their music pieces on pre-designed locales. In this case we will use physical outdoor public spaces as our street gallery. Differently from other forms of street art, this one will be experienced only when activated via a mobile app, by that the receiver will be discovering art and not on an uninvited way being invaded by them. The surprise element, however, will be there.
The action of discovering local musicians in a new physical space is the main objective of this project. Which also carries the relevance of showcasing the most recently released music in town as well as work as a media archeology concept, bringing entire eras of "saved" tunes. The premisse is to bring musical pieces that will never be heard anywhere else besides there. The basic elements to be explored are: tourism, physical activity and exclusive local music compositions.
At the design stage we may discuss ideas as if musical spots may relate to the composition meaning, to their musical identity or historical practices.
3. Strolling as a compositional practice
A project similar to National Mall proposal (Bluebrain 2011). In this case the LBMA is analysed in a macro manner. The location based song app will not represent an individual fully “closed” composition placed in regions. Each will be open pieces composed by tiny sound samples which are triggered on the go. The space turns into the instrument and the strolling is the input necessary for experiencing it.
At the design stage we will discuss how the soundscape may effectively transform the sound files triggered (in duration, timbre, volume, etc) depending on distinct variables as: time of the day, weather conditions, activities occurring at the surrounding areas.
In a post-recording media era, this project discusses the idea of the medium (mobile gadget and space) delivering the musical content while turning into the instrument themselves. Likewise environmental noises, loud speakers, cassette tapes and its recorders once worked as instruments for Musique Concrète and to minimalist compositions. As vinyls and pickups served as instruments to Turntablism.
The challenge of this design and its experience is to turn the sound intervention working well enough with unpredictable soundscapes.
We must describe the challenges encountered in the process of design, implementation and experience. Always considering the physical public space as vital interface for the projects. Our intention is to develop a realistic critique in this so recent digital product known as album app. Hoping to understand how to fulfil specific needs of similar projects, focusing on the expectations (or anticipations) from the listeners side, speculating on possibilities for future realities.
I see the workshops as potential triggers of innovation. While developing the practice and experiencing the project, the critical thinking of the participants are consequently provoked. I consider, in this context, relevant to engage the community of local musicians (as artistic collaboration) as well as the ones interested in the field of interaction and urban design and entertainment industries.
We aim to focus on: how to enhance the location based musical album listening experience?
And as sub categories, we should identify carefully the potential circumstances in which these modes of listening occur. Based on the app designs, focus group and field experiments we aim to provide a consistent case, contributing to designs of future realities within the urban and entertainment realms.
This research project received very positive reviews from the Prof Dr Michael Bull and Prof Dr Thor Magnusson at the University of Sussex (England) for future developments.
OBS: This independent research, which aim to contribute for the field of speculative design, interaction design [mobile media]; Internet of things and embodiment of space (via wearables in outdoor urban areas) was my PhD topic which I didn’t proceed for lack of funding from Brazilian Government.