We are a six-member, interdisciplinary group with a background in Visual Arts, Music, Architecture, Literature and Social Sciences with a common interest in the mapping of the contemporary city scape. We are engaged with the concept of Urban Ritual and we seek ways in which it is imprinted on the sensory scape of the City. We use sound as an instrument of transforming the experience of urban space, as well as walking -”the most obvious but obscure thing in the world”, as Rebecca Solnit notes- as a medium of performing and reading alternative narratives in and about the city.
The goal of the workshop is, firstly, to create a sound map of Monastiraki square (an area near TAF Foundation), secondly, to design a blog which will be constantly renewed with audiovisual material, and last to compose a soundwalk with the use of mobile phones and GPS, that will augment the sensorial dimensions of urban rituals that compose the experience of the city. Besides the physically present participants the workshop will be enhanced with the contribution of our international network of visual artists, musicians and social scientists, that will collaborate with field recordings from other European cities. In the same time we will be in live exchange with two associated workshops that will take place in Lisbon (The Milena Principle / Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon) and in Brussels (The Milena Principle / School of Arts – RITS, Radio Department). Other participants that will contribute with sound and visual material are: Dzovinar Mikirditsian (Paris), Doris Hakim (Antwerp), Sinan Bokesoy (Istanbul) and Nikos Bubaris (Venice, Madrid).
The participants of the workshop will be introduced to the process of soundscape composition, sound design, and sound mapping, within the framework of site-specific artistic practice and promenadology, with the use of innovative locative media applications. We will exemplify in practice filed recording techniques, modes of sound material processing and reproduction and sound composition upon the map of the city, using the open-source platform “noTours”.
In the exhibition, the results of the workshop are going to be presented a) In the form of a soundwalk in the square of Monastiraki – with the use of noTours application for android – b) In an interactive, audiovisual map in the space of TAF c) Through a constantly renewed blog, accessible via internet.
noTours (http://www.notours.org/) is an open-source software platform developed by escoitar.org collective. It is a tool for creating site-specific and interactive artistic works with the use of locative media technology, that results to an environment of “augmented aurality” within public space. Starting from the Situationist practice of dérive, we create itineraries that evade from the concrete urban planning, that is primarily visual, geometrically aligned and panoptically designed. We suggest a new cartographic model that could represent various layers of perception and experience of urban space, based on mobility rather than stasis: this would include time as a fourth dimension, the subjective glance, the relational and emotional layers of experience; and finally, it should be open for a polyphonic narration about space, at the process of its transformation into place. Strolling within an aurally augmented city is an open-ended artistic gesture, ready to be re-interpreted and re-toured by each listener. NoTours is a tool for détournement, appropriating the widely spread format of tourist guides into a medium for non-touring and non-guiding, but still impelling the listener into strolling.
The notion of “augmented aurallity”, as used in the artistic practice of soundwalks, consists in the intervention on space with audio means. Ιt is an experience of immersion to a hybrid environment between material and potential reality, which employs the multiple levels of the constantly transforming notion of public space: structured environment, social networks, digital communities, virtual environments.
The link of the workshop with remote users from other European cities gives us the possibility to create associations with spatially distant but imaginary coherent spaces. In the context of composing a spatialized narrative, the juxtaposition of audio fragments of different urban environments will suggest the acknowledgement of coherence that emphasizes in the practices of everyday life and urban rituals, rather than the contrast that is implied by the difference of geographical location and cultural background.