Friday, 4 April 2008


SOUNDCITIES DATABASE: An online open source database of city sounds from around the world, that can be listened to, used in performances on laptops, or played on mobiles via wireless networks. Initially all sounds by Stanza you can now contribute your own found sounds. This is was the first online open source found sound database. First version 2003. New sounds added 12.12.06. Enter to listen or add your own sounds.

URBAN MUSIC: AUDACITY: The sounds of the street as a generative audio cacaphony. Multiple streaming players from city to city off the database.

SOUNDCITIES CD: AS MP3 Online download release: I tried to rework all the found sounds into finished compositions.

SOUNDMAPS. The first Version mixing desks made in 2000.

SONICITY: A generative audio mixer that morphs the sounds as you listen. 2000

XML Access: Code you own interface. Get in touch if interested.

EMERGENT WORLD : This online visual artwork updates images from cctv and webcams around the world in real time with sounds from around the world being randomly played from the database via XML stream.


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Mobile City Conference 27-28 Feb 2008

Mobile City is a conference on locative and mobile media and the city. The conference brings together academics, urban professionals, locative artists and media designers. The rise of mobile and locative media like the mobile phone and GPS blur the boundaries between the physical world and the digital world. What does this mean for the city?

Visit the conference’s website with rich video and text documentation

London, Patrick Keiller

Patrick Keiller's extraordinary portrait of London re-imagines the city through the explorations of an unseen 'researcher' Robinson and his similarly unseen companion, the film's narrator.

Read more and watch "London"
Read an interview with Keiller in "Street Signs"

Monday, 24 March 2008

Paul Strand: Manhatta (1921)

Directed by Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler. Like the Portapak in the sixties, the movie camera was still a novelty in 1920 when Charles Sheeler and photographer Paul Strand teamed up to film Manhatta. Sheeler bought a French-made Debrie, a combination 35mm still and movie camera, just after its release in 1918. It was lightweight and easy to use, primarily for shooting newsreels on location. Manhatta, one of the first avant-garde films made in the United States, was a portrait in time of what Walt Whitman called "the city of the world," a cinematic prose poem exalting the energetic and modern pulse of New York City. Sheeler and Strand constructed a rhythmic series of images, interspersed with verse excerpted from Whitman, fashioning an expression of the city over the course of a day. Their urban portrait begins at dawn as scores of people arrive to a day of work. "City of tall facades of marble and iron . . . When million-footed Manhattan unpent descends to its pavements." In shots from high perches around lower Manhattan, we see people hustle about, smokestacks billow, machines giving rise to new construction. And at the end of the day, man and machine slow to rest as dusk descends upon the city.

Source: Ubuweb +

Watch Manhatta.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

‘the iPod of reading’?

As Adrian Hon, chief creative of the online games company Six to Start, says: “Authors don’t need to be great artists or programmers right now. They ‘just’ need to write. To make anything more advanced than a normal story, though, you need more skills.” Most authors aren’t also computer programmers, and most programmers aren’t novelists. As Hon says: “Web people come up with cool ideas, such as telling stories by web 2.0 series, wikis or e-mails. Twitter, but it fails because they can’t write a good story for it.” This needn’t be an insuperable hurdle. We may see a new partnership added to the traditional artist-and-writer combination for illustrated books, or musician-and-writer team for songs. Writers could work with programmers in this new form of storytelling.



In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation's staid fiction market. The WSJ reports.

"Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s have found a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies. For readers, mostly teenage girls, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.

... Mobile-novel writers like getting instant feedback from readers. That encourages them to keep going or even to change stories to suit readers. Of course, the close interaction between reader and writer can sometimes be too much. A 27-year-old woman, who wrote a sad love story called "What the Angel Gave Me" under the pen name Chaco, became so popular two years ago that she was getting 25,000 unique online visitors a day. Chaco, who won't disclose her real name, says she felt pressured to update her novel and respond to comments every day to keep readers happy.

"I was getting only one to two hours of sleep a night," says Chaco. Her phone was ringing with email messages from fans at four in the morning.

... Nobody knows how much staying power the genre will have, or whether authors who specialize in writing about their own experiences will run dry.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Walking in the City: The Motif of Exile in Performances by Krzysztof Wodiczko and Adrian Piper

Kinga Araya, Ph.D.
Concordia University, 2004

This thesis investigates two art performances involving walking in the city that are conceptualized as exilic works of art: Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Vehicle performed in 1973 in Warsaw; and Adrian Piper’s Catalysis performed from 1970 to 1971 in New York. My contention is that Wodiczko’s and Piper’s walks in the city can be examined by applying a threefold understanding of exile. First, these important performative artworks made manifest in the form of artistic walks are marginalized within, or exiled from, an institutionalized mainstream art. Second, the artists themselves communicate either personal or metaphorical states of exile. Third, the phenomena of contemporary metropolises, as diverse as the communist Warsaw and the capitalist New York of the 1970s are analyzed as alienating and exilic social dwellings par excellence in which most of the inhabitants do not feel “at home”.

This paper also summarizes a much longer and more intense conflation of my personal and professional experience with walking. I, myself, am an exile, who literally walked away from a student trip in Florence, Italy. Since that crucial event, I have developed a very special relationship with walking, this most humble human activity that I no longer take for granted. In order to make my writing more conversational I traveled to Poland and the United States to walk the same streets that Wodiczko and Piper walked during their performances with my photo and video cameras. My visual and textual re-tracing of the artists’ steps form a creative part of this dissertation. Since I wanted to exhaust the richness of these two exilic art works and to connect them to the contemporary urban experience, I employ my personal writing style and juxtapose it with the photographs I took in Warsaw and New York. These creative reflections on walking that enrich the academic form of expression are enclosed in two attachments following the chapters in which I theoretically analyze Wodiczko’s and Piper’s walking performance artworks.

Read Kinga Araya's thesis here.