In an ongoing connection between the mobilities lab at Lancaster University, and the mobile media lab at Concordia University in Montreal, we met for a skype/coffee this afternoon to discuss the audio-mobile app that is being made by Owen Chapman and his team at MML. We’ve been doing some beta testing for the app at Lancaster and met to share our thoughts.
Owen, Sam Thulin and Kim Sawchuk were over in Lancaster a few weeks ago to run a workshop with the app, and we plan to keep meeting informally via Skype to gradually grow links between the two mobilities labs.
I’m still relatively new to working with sound, and the process of using the app is making me listen more closely to the sound around me. It reminds me of the different sense of ‘tuning‘ or perhaps ‘attuning’ that devices lend to otherwise everyday walks.
When I walk with a camera I notice light, colour, texture, visual composition. When I walk with a GPS device I tune myself to thinking about a line drawn out behind me, my path as a focus for the walk. When I walk with audio-mobile I tune in to sound. Walking with a GPS can lead to walking a route to make a drawn path visible, similarly audio-mobile can lead to playing an environment to make it audible, e.g. throwing stones into the water beneath a bridge.
Perhaps like Burrough’s color walks, different sensing and recording devices tune us into different aspects of a city, but they also extend our senses, adding different capacities (e.g. qualculation) that make our qualitative experiences different.