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Underground sounds project on CBC Cinq à Six

Underground sounds project on CBC Cinq à Six

Interview on the CBC Radio One program Cinq à Six, about the underground sounds project and soundwalks done for the Soundwalking Interactions project in the underground city, during the winter of 2012. Inspiration for this project from Suzanne Martel’s science fiction novel, Surréal 3000 is explained.

Entrevue à l’émission Cinq à Six sur CBC  Radio One à propos des projets sonores souterrains et des marches sonores menées dans le Montréal souterrain dans le cadre du projet La marche sonore comme processus d’interaction durant l’hiver 2012. L’inspiration pour ce projet, soit la nouvelle de science fiction Surréal 3000 de Suzanne Martel, y est discutée.

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Walking Archives: The Soy Children by Eduardo Molinari

I have been reading Walking Archives: The Soy Children, by Argentinean artist and writer Eduardo Molinari. He walks us into the GMO soy fields of Monsanto, covering more than half of cultivated lands in that country. There is an oblique connection to the work of Soundwalking Interactions: the Buenos Aires soundwalk in December 2010 by chance crossed paths with a Monsanto demonstration.

Molinari says: “My archive … took shape based on three sources or types of documents: copies of the AGN’s [national archives] official photographic material, the photographs I take on walks, and lastly what I call junk or garbage documentation: scraps and fragments of print media (magazines, newspapers, graphics in general) and publications (books, posters, postcards, maps, etc.) Those three elements, joined together as a manual collage, have created the Documents of the Walking Archive…. The process behind the relationship between the Walking Archive and the collective processes I take part in has been coloured from the outset by the dynamic of the walker: it’s a relationship that’s always in context, always linked to others, always open to new forms of knowledge and practices. That’s why I refer to the Walking Archive as a project in which walking as an aesthetic practice and collective and interdisciplinary at ion are at the core.” (2012: 2)

Molinari, Eduardo. Walking Archives: The Soy Children. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2012.

 

 

Soundwalk response by Denis Kra

Soundwalk Report:
« A response to the soundwalk through your own idea of how to do that »

Auteur: Denis Kra

COMS876 / COM7161: Media Technology as Practice

Prof: Andra McCartney

Concordia University

February 28, 2012

L’écoute des sons ou la marche pour l’écoute des sons, communément appelée «Soundwalk», est une activité à laquelle mes frères et moi avions été initiés très tôt dans notre enfance par notre papa. Il nous a appris à écouter les sons qui ont une signification, et ce, dans le but de savoir prédire le présent et le futur proche. Ainsi, pour aller cultiver dans notre plantation, faire une course en ville ou faire un voyage, nous écoutions des sons afin de savoir si notre déplacement débouchera sur du bonheur et de la joie ou si au contraire, on sera exposé à des problèmes ou frappé par un malheur.

J’aime particulièrement écoute les sons tôt à l’aube (le matin dans l’intervalle de temps compris entre la nuit et le lever du soleil). Dans cet intervalle, il se produit des sons qui prédisent le futur proche, notamment au sujet des événements qui se passeront dans le courant de la journée: des sons de bons ou de mauvais augures, des sons évocateurs de bonheur ou de malheur que seuls les initiés peuvent décoder et tirer des enseignements. Par exemple, certains bruits humains, particulièrement les pleurs des bébés, les chants d’oiseaux, les cris d’animaux domestiques ou sauvages, le bruit du vent et la direction du vent, le bruit des insectes, etc.

À bien y penser, je m’aperçois qu’on écoutait tout ce qui était naturel et on n’accordait pas d’importe aux bruits émis par les entités non naturelles. C’est à dire par exemple les bruits des voitures, des moteurs ou les bruits de tout autre objet fabriqué par les humains ne nous intéressaient pas pour l’écoute des sons. Étant donné que l’intérêt de notre écoute des sons est porté sur le sens de ces sons, il nous arrive parfois d’entendre un oiseau chanter un chant de bonheur, ce qui nous fait savoir que la journée sera heureuse ou sans problème. Si nous avons une commission à faire dans cette journée, ce seul chant d’oiseau évoquant le bonheur nous prédit que cette commission sera un succès. Cela nous procure une grande joie pour amorcer la journée, pour aller au champ ou  pour effectuer toute activité que nous avons projetée dans cette journée. Mais parfois c’est le contraire qui arrive, nous entendons les sons qui prédisent le malheur, et ces jours-là nous ajournons ce que nous avions prévu faire, et nous restons à la maison tout en observant la prudence pour ne pas être victimes de malheur.

Ce qui est quelquefois marrant, c’est que, même si nous savons qu’il y aura bonheur ou malheur, ce bonheur ou ce malheur ne se porte pas toujours sur ce que nous croyons. Il se porte parfois sur des situations auxquelles nous n’avons pas du tout pensé. En plus, nous ne pouvons pas savoir de quelle nature sera ce bonheur ou ce malheur, ni d’où il proviendra. C’est une science traditionnelle assez intéressante, mais qui reste encore inexacte.

J’aime particulièrement écouter les sons à des périodes des pointes comme l’aube, le midi, le crépuscule et minuit. C’est des périodes chargées de beaucoup d’informations cosmiques véhiculées par les créatures naturelles de l’univers. Mes lieux préférés pour faire ses écoutes de sons sont:

– Pour l’aube, à la véranda de la maison familiale au village pendant que tout le monde dort encore, à la fenêtre dans une maison silencieuse en ville avec mon regard tourné au dehors et perdu dans le firmament.

-Pour le midi, lorsque je suis en ville, assis par exemple dans une cafétéria, dans une gare, dans un parc, etc., j écoute les bruits naturels tout en faisant abstraction des bruits artificiels. Quelquefois si possible, je m’isole en pleine forêt ou dans le bois où il y a peu de bruits artificiels. Dans ce lieu, on a l’occasion d’écouter le bruit du silence, des oiseaux, des insectes, en somme, le bruit de la manifestation de la terre. Et quelquefois dans ces lieux, en pleine inspiration d’écoute, on peut entendre des voix venues de nulle part, des paroles brèves aussitôt entendues, aussitôt rompues. J’ai été moi-même témoin de beaucoup de choses étranges lors de mes écoutes de sons en pleine forêt pendant les périodes de midi.

– Pour le crépuscule, je préfère être également en pleine forêt. C’est une période de transition où les êtres en éveille durant le jour rentrent pour dormir et les êtres de la nuit se réveillent pour vaquer à leurs activités. Par exemple, il a des insectes, des oiseaux ou des animaux nocturnes qui s’éveillent alors d’autres des mêmes espèces rentrent pour dormir. Dans cette transition, l’écoute devient passionnante, car les bruits qu’on écoute à ce moment sont de véritables messages pour ceux qui savent lire et décoder les bruits et les signes. Les personnes de culture traditionnelle, qui ont une vie typiquement en relation avec la terre ou la campagne, peuvent vous en dire davantage.

– Pour les périodes de minuit je m’exerce à l’écoute du son lorsque je suis au campement. Mais en ville, cela ne m’est possible actuellement que quand je me retrouve tout seul, ou quand par chance tout le monde chez moi dort avant minuit et qu’il n’y a plus de bruits artificiels. Ce qui est très rare à la maison.

Récemment dans le cours COMS876, nous avions fait une marche d’écoute de sons «Soundwalk». Le procédé et motif sont différents de ce que je suis habitué à faire tout seul dans ma campagne. Cette marche a consisté à longer une partie du chemin de fer qui traverse le quartier, à sillonner quelques rues du quartier, puis à retourner sur le campus de l’Université Concordia, tout en rentrant dans quelques bâtisses de l’Université avant de retourner en classe. Chaque participant de la marche a fait le compte-rendu de ce qu’il ou elle a écouté. Moi, j’ai particulièrement entendu le bruit de moteur des voitures, de chauffage, des oiseaux, des humains, ainsi que le bruit du vent et de la neige qui tombait sur mon habit. Cette marche a été audio enregistrée par David Paquette et immortalisée avec les photos prises par Magda. Cette marche m’a paru assez originale et excitante d’autant plus que c’était pour moi la première fois que je faisais du «Soundwalk» en ville en groupe et en compagnie des amis de classe. À la fin de cette randonnée, j’ai pensé à l’utilité et à la signification des sons que nous avons chacun écoutés, mais ce n’était pas l’objet de ce cours.

Le «Soundwalk» pourrait également se faire sans rendez-vous. On pourrait pour ce faire, disposer en permanence sur soi d’un appareil d’enregistrement, et enregistrer les sons partout où on se trouverait: au travail, en chemin sur les routes, dans les centres d’achat, au restaurant, à la maison, etc. L’écoute de ces sons enregistrés peut procurer du plaisir à bien des personnes notamment les voyageurs, les touristes qui ont enregistré ces sons pendant leur séjour à l’étranger ou à une période leur vie, etc. Ces sons peuvent aussi servir de mémoire du temps ou d’une époque et les réécouter plusieurs années plus tard peut réveiller les souvenirs de ces époques. Exemple pour une personne âgée, réécouter les sons qu’elle a enregistrés dans sa jeunesse il y a 40 ans, lui procurera un très grand plaisir, car ces sons constituent pour elle des souvenirs de sa jeunesse et lui font revivre mentalement ces périodes.

Marches sonores hivernales

February 20, 2012 1 comment

The English version of this text can be found here

Les membres de Soundwalking Interactions (Andra McCartney, David Paquette, Dave Madden, Cailtin Loney) ont pris part, durant le mois dernier, à un projet de marches sonores hivernales dans leur quartier respectif (trois à Montréal, une à Morin-Heights). Chacun a effectué trois marches hebdomadaires d’environ 30 minutes, suivies de la rédaction d’un résumé analytique. Nous avons ensuite rédigé de courts sommaires dans lesquels nous explorons les similitudes et différences entre chaque expérience. Les résumés et analyses peuvent être lus dans leur version (anglaise) intégrale dans cet article paru précédemment.

Un aspect fondamental de l’expérience de chacun fut la présence du climat hivernal dans les commentaires hebdomadaires. Si pour Dave les conditions météos influençaient non seulement l’expérience auditive même bien la totalités des modes perceptifs, pour Caitlin la température se faisait surtout entendre à travers la texture changeante du bruit des pas, selon la qualité de la neige ou de la glace au sol. Pour moi, ce sont surtout la cadence et la durée des marches qui témoignaient du temps. Finalement, pour Andra, le climat dictait plutôt l’heure (milieu d’après-midi) et l’orientation (vers l’ouest, pour faire face au soleil) de la marche. L’influence majeure du climat nous a donc menés à proposer une autre série de marches sonores au mois d’avril, pour tenir compte du changement de saison.

Un autre aspect à considérer est l’impact de la configuration spatiale sur le déroulement de la marche elle-même; par exemple, les trois quartiers urbains proposent une plus grande diversité de trajectoires et de lieux hétérogènes, contrairement à la campagne ou les choix de parcours demeuraient (à tout le moins dans mon cas) assez limités et relativement uniformes. Les différences de variété sonore (ainsi que de volume et de quantité) sont facilement identifiables à la lecture des résumés de marche; la question d’attitude (ou d’attention) et son lien à l’espace semble une autre composante importante qui pourrait être approfondie. Dave s’est aussi intéressé à l’intersensorialité inhérente à la pratique de la marche sonore, se questionnant sur les types de collaborations sensorielles qu’elle rend possible et de leur impact sur l’écoute elle-même. Finalement, Andra s’est questionnée sur le rapport entre les trois marches successives, ainsi que l’effet potentiel de résonance crée par le partage hebdomadaire des résumés de marches entre les membres de l’équipe.

The aural experience of physical space – An interactive installation

May 24, 2011 2 comments

by Kathy Kennedy

Une version française de ce texte se trouve ici.

The relationship of sound and space is a recurring theme in current sound art, and a new interactive work by Andra McCartney examines this trend in detail. I visited her work in progress recently in the Department of Communications Studies at Concordia University where Dr. McCartney was testing the piece with her graduate students. This interactive installation makes use of ambient field recordings recorded during soundwalks that are activated and manipulated by the movement of performers within a physical space. Recordings consisted of traffic sounds, elevators, urban and rural soundscapes punctuated by occasional birds, doors, cars, voices or music. They were all recorded in the immediate area surrounding where the work was installed. The room is dominated by a large projection covering an entire wall, displaying a grid of 16 equal-sized squares containing body images of the performers that reveal themselves with changing color intensity as they move through the space. This grid is a reflection of a comparable area on the floor where performers can move freely while activating the field recordings. The sounds are heard through four speakers on the floor, one at each corner of the large square.

Dr. McCartney and three of her graduate students each contributed four selections of 30 to 60 seconds in length, one for each square on the grid. Each participant’s four recordings were distributed in one corner of the floor space, creating a specific quadrant per person. The performers’ movements across this area were tracked by a video camera on the ceiling, and fed into a computer program (Max/MSP/Jitter). The movements activated the sound files attached to each square of floor as well as the body image on the projected screen.  In other words, the space on the floor became a stage for the performer that was reflected in the projected image. The velocity or intensity of movement translated into the volume of the sound file and intensity of colour in the visual image. Darker colours represented slower movement and the brightest colours came from the most activity.

All four performers (McCartney and students) moved freely throughout the space, trying to activate and shape sounds with different kinds of movement, affecting a combination of elements to create different sonic mixes. The visual stimulus of the screen increased the feedback loop between sound and physical position as performers watched the various squares light up with organic color traces representing the constantly changing velocity and amplitude of their movement. Sharp gestures, jumping or arm waving was implemented to create sharper attacks or spikes in volume, like a giant instrument being played by four musicians. This model for musical collaboration between players often gleans creative results, requiring all to constantly experiment with and adjust to new feedback.

As with all interactive work, it is worthwhile to qualify the nature and degree of interactivity that is solicited. The idea of moving through physical space to activate different sounds is a compelling one. It is much like real life, where we experience different sounds as we change place. However, this piece takes us into a new realm of possibility where sounds can appear from any direction (i.e. the four speakers) and remain ultimately beyond our control. Throughout this process of experimentation, the Max patch was being adjusted by collaborator Don Sinclair to randomly change the position of sound files so that interaction would stay fresh and new. Other modalities, such as permanent situation of sound files in specific quadrants, were also tried.

The choice of sound file, however, seems to me to be the most important factor in determining the degree of interaction. The field recordings selected were relatively ambient and lacking in distinctive information in the first few seconds of playback. Therefore it took some time to recognize one’s choice and even more time to affect change in volume.  Reaction time became an important issue in triggering interactive responses from the performers. The length of each excerpt seemed to also affect the tendencies of interaction. Some selections with clearer “sound marks” or distinguishing factors drew different responses, as performers tried to access them more often.

One important outcome of this interactive proposition was the fluidity and freedom of movement in performers. In an attempt to affect the audio response, each participant inadvertently became a performance-worthy dancer. I found the visual elements of the piece played an important role in the activity as well. Participants were responding to the spectral colour feedback, and I, as a spectator, enjoyed watching people engage in the process. The shadow of each body appeared on the projected screen, harkening poetically to the inescapable human footprint in all field recordings. In this work, each participant is intended to trigger sounds by their geographical placement and intensity of movement in that space.  This is not unprecedented in interactive works, but the notion of field recordings takes the listener immediately into the realm of ‘place,’ creating an illusory world of cause and effect. One moves in a highly charted, circumscribed world (the floor) in order to affect a much more amorphous world of audio.

There was a heightened or enhanced level of physical and aural awareness implicit in the interactive component of this work that was particularly enjoyable to witness. Navigating through physical space in order to access and alter field recordings (the aural experience of physical space) is a fanciful idea. It is also an important line of inquiry about how we occupy physical space, our awareness of sound being a fundamental aspect of that experience.

Loyola/Montreal West Soundwalks

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

By David Madden

I recently led three improvised soundwalks through Concordia’s Loyola campus and the surrounding residential area.  The first walk was with a group of undergraduate sound students on January 21st, a very cold and windy day.  The other two walks were conducted on February 17th, a beautiful spring-like day with over seventy undergraduate students in a History of Communication and Media course.  Weather is an important factor in determining the various paths to take while on a soundwalk, whether improvised or planned in advance.  On the colder day, much of the route consisted of moving through many of the campus’s interior spaces, such as the library, Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex and the CJ building, which houses the Department of Communication Studies.  In contrast, the warm weather on the 17th offered the perfect opportunity to explore the lively sounds of Montreal West:  light traffic, residents shoveling snow, intermittent bird calls, and elementary school students playing in the snow.

In the discussions that followed, many listeners described the various ways footsteps play into soundwalks.  One female listener found them “hypnotizing,” making it difficult to focus on other sounds; another found a communal and rhythmic element to the sounds of our shoes, keeping us “in-sync” throughout the walk; while another listener felt they added a nice “hum” while walking through the snow.  Certain students listened to the Loyola campus historically, trying to imagine how the soundscape might have sounded twenty years earlier and comparing the acoustics of the older buildings with the newer ones.  This comparative thread largely revolved around the lower levels of reverb and echo present in the newer buildings.

At Soundwalking Interactions, we are very interested in hearing about your soundwalking experiences.  Does this urban walk through a university campus and its surrounding area sound like anything you have encountered while on a soundwalk?  How do you feel about the sounds of the city, or the buildings that you walk through everyday?  Have you had any interesting sounding experiences while taking public transportation?  Please contact us via email or simply “leave a comment.”

Soundwalking and improvisation

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Soundwalking and improvisation
Dr. Andra McCartney
Concordia University
May 2010

Paper published on the Improvisation, Community and Social Practice website.

Un résumé français de ce texte est disponible ici.

Proponents of soundwalks have sometimes referred to the improvisational listening that is required in order to work with differing weather patterns, seasonal and other changes in the soundscape, as well as to shape the path of the soundwalker through the soundscape based on responses to auditory clues (see for instance McCartney 2005; Westerkamp 2006). However, public soundwalks are frequently conceptualized and planned in advance, with routes and activities laid out and adhered to by participants as a kind of score, circumscribing direct listening engagement with the soundscape. Similarly, audio walks, prepared headphone soundwalks and listening guides provide pre-conceived experiences for the audience. While listeners have been asked by soundscape researchers to think of the soundscape as a musical composition, what happens if we think of listening to the sound environment as an improvisational activity rather than as a composition? Does this not make more sense since the sound environment is never a fixed entity, never completely scoreable? Listening improvisationally makes particular sense for the mobile context of soundwalks, in which the motions of the soundwalkers create possibilities for changes of perspective through the space. In this article I wish to consider the various ways that soundwalking can benefit from improvisational thinking and practices during listening, framing of soundwalks, field recording, playing with recordings excerpted from soundwalks, playing with elements of soundwalks in improvisational movement, and inviting improvising musicians to create soundwalks.

Listening and framing
A soundwalk provides an opportunity to create a route through a place focused on listening. Soundwalks form a bridge between the everyday experience of walking, and mindful, creative listening, framing what could be an everyday activity and giving this experience the potential for listening and thinking about sound in the environment. Whether walking alone or in a group, the soundwalker defines the beginning of a walk by a conscious decision to listen; to focus on listening in order to to define the shape and direction of the walk, in response both to practised knowledge of the place through repeated walks, and to the exigencies of the moment; weather, sudden unusual sounds, shifts in perspective and experience.

Listening is affected by the context of the soundwalk: whether recorded or not, whether solo or group. Group soundwalks are often led by a listening guide who will suggest ways of listening to the participants including musical listening to pitches, rhythms, textures, harmonies; subjective listening while thinking about relationships between bodily sounds and their surroundings; historical listening in which people think of other times they and others have walked in that place or in similar places and how the present sounds are similar or different; political listening when paying attention to which sounds are more ubiquitous, which masked, which inaudible and who controls these sounds; and evocative listening where the listener pays attention to related sensual associations that are brought to the surface. In public soundwalks, participants often comment on their awareness of listening as a group, of the group presence as they listen and move together in silence through a place, a moving awareness that can heighten the listening experience and contributes a lively energy to the discussions afterward.

When a recordist listens during recording, monitoring on headphones, the sound environment is shaped by the microphone and amplified into the headphones, and the experience is shaped by other inhabitants’ awareness of the recordist’s presence in the space. Soundwalk recording is mobile recording, and even if the recordist moves silently, their change in perspective is audible in the space. Unlike in the sound studio, sources are not artificially baffled, isolated from each other and manipulable as separate sources. Sounds are heard and recorded in their wild state, overlapping in an environment which changes unpredictably. A recordist’s skill as an improviser is evident in the way they adapt their recording practices to weather, to surprise changes in the sound environment, to rich sonic relationships that become evident and can be made more evident through shifts in recording perspective. Recordists need to stay alert to listening and thinking about microphone movement as they work.

Listen to Apple blossom soundwalk (May 2009). This recording is an excerpt of a soundwalk that is a trace of a repeated practice, a walk down the driveway of a farm in southern Ontario; a farm where there has been no pesticide or herbicide use for thirty years. The practice of that place, the repetition of walks, provides a knowledge of the potential for pleasurable listening there, and for framing decisions about timing and pacing. This soundwalk takes place mid-morning in May 2009 on a sunny day when bees and wasps are attracted to the apple blossoms. I walk slowly, my feet crunching last year’s dried leaves and grasses and the gravel of the driveway. Taken by the buzzing in the tree, I stop to listen. It is a stuttering walk, stopping in wonder, moving forward — closer to the tree, stopping again. The frogs spill out of their night-time niche, singing here with the birds. Traffic passes on a far-off road, swarming with the bees. The soundscape is densely textured, rich with repeated, but not looped, rhythms. Recording, I walk more slowly than other times walking the dog or with my sister, or going to get the newspaper. Soundwalking, I pay more attention.

Field recording and processing
This recording was made with a flash recorder and in-ear binaural microphones. This provides a recording that is very high audio quality but is not directional. With binaural mics in my ears, I cannot monitor simultaneously with headphones and need to rely on prior experience in order to monitor levels and make sure there is no peaking. Long hair provides wind protection for the mics.

In this recording, as sounds catch my attention, I move my head or move towards a sound, stop bodily movement and become still, use my body to shield the wind and provide a haven of quiet. More directional cardioid or hyper-cardioid microphones record a more specific swath of the sonic surroundings, like sharper and sharper brushes used by a painter. This allows for more pointed improvisation with perspective, and can also allow the recordist to get into structures that ears cannot enter, like drainage pipes or crevices. On the farm driveway with nearby wetland, the open and clear perspective of the binaural microphones reveals subtle shifts, turns of the head, changes in perspective, and sudden signals in the dense sonic texture without direct pointing.

Playing with recordings
In soundscape installations, I attempt to create situations where listeners can participate directly in the sounding of an environment by interacting with soundscape recordings in different ways. In Soundwalk to Home, listeners chose to hear different recordings that were described in a booklet where they were invited to write about their listening experience. In Journées Sonores, canal de Lachine, (audio with stills here; video documentation here, listeners could choose contemporary and historical pieces linked to descriptions in a magazine, while sitting under a 50s style hairdryer; and in the larger space of the gallery, could mix eight stereo tracks of soundscape recordings from the canal environment, such as ice movement, housing construction, calls of swallows around bird houses, road traffic crossing a bridge and so on. In each case there is a listening engagement with the sounds of the environment through choosing and reflecting, listening while mixing, thinking about relative dynamics and relationships between this controlled sonic space of the gallery and the surrounding sonic environment. In each case, opportunities are given to listeners to discuss their experience. An installation currently in development will allow listeners to interact with soundwalk recordings through their movement in a gallery space and through live mic input.

What are the possibilities of environmental sound recordings as a source for an instrumentalist to improvise? I asked an experienced improviser, Montreal guitarist, kalimba player and composer Rainer Wiens, to work with four pieces derived from soundwalks. Some, like In Transit, were completely composed pieces (in this case, about soundwalks around the Toronto transit system). Others, like the Apple blossom soundwalk, were framed but unedited moments from longer soundwalks, that I had excerpted because they were particularly striking and remarkable on repeated listening. Of the four soundscapes that I gave him, Wiens preferred playing with the Apple blossom soundwalk because it was more open and felt less finished than the completely composed pieces, and because the environment is so dense and varied, timbrally and rhythmically complex. This allows for many points of entry for an improviser and therefore makes the stillness and lack of direct response of the recorded medium less of a problem than it would be with soundscapes of more isolated sounds.

Listen to RW Apple blossom kalimba mix. This is a stereo mix of two takes of kalimba improvisations by Rainer Wiens in response to the Apple blossom soundwalk excerpt. They have been placed one in the left channel and one in the right so that you can use panning to listen to either separately or both together. While there are many differences in melody and rhythmic phrasing, both improvisations have a similar feel, and sound like similar species when played together.

Recently, the Soundwalking Interactions project received funding from the Quebec government (FQRSC) to do research on soundwalking, improvisation and audience-artist communication. The next stage of research on soundwalks and improvisation includes thinking about ways of improvising more directly with sources derived from soundwalks, employing audio processes to reveal different aspects of the sonic environment, and linking these processes to gestural interfaces. Framing and juxtaposition can focus attention on relationships between different sounds. Filtering and equalizing can reveal quiet sounds and how they are masked by louder noises. Pitch shifting can change the scale of sounds and reveal timbral subtleties. Repetition and layering can focus attention on rhythmic qualities of the sound. Working with Professor Don Sinclair of York University, we are investigating ways to register motion (using video grab and MAX) through a gallery space and express that motion by changing the sound in the space in a way that will be audible and tangible to listeners.  As part of the process of making such an installation, practising in a program like Ableton Live allows different sonic structures to be auditioned in a gestural way on a keyboard or mixer.

Thinking about soundwalks and improvisation for this research project continues to be informed by the work and ideas of experienced practitioners in the field. Three improvisers: Malcolm Goldstein, Kathy Kennedy and Rainer Wiens, have each been invited to do a forty minute soundwalk, which will be recorded and discussed with each musician as part of the Soundwalking Interactions research project.  Listening in soundwalks needs to be active, imaginative, dynamic and attendant to the requirements of the moment, similar to the listening of improvising musicians. The work of the soundwalk artist is crucial in designing structures and providing models for soundwalking strategies. Participants in soundwalks and soundwalk-inspired experiences and installations can be encouraged to use improvisational tactics to respond to sound immediately and imaginatively, deepening their listening experience. This focus on listening draws attention to the important role of the audience.

Bibliography:
Augoyard, Jean Francois. Step by Step: everyday walks in a French urban housing project. Foreword by Francoise Choay; translated and with an afterword by David Ames Curtis. Minneapolis, MN: 2007. Originally published as Pas a Pas: Essaie sur le cheminement quotidien en milieu urbain, Editions du Seuil, 1979.

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency. ICT Advice: Using web-based resources in primary music: Soundwalk.  Coventry, UK: 2003. Accessed online: http://www.mmiweb.org.uk/publications/webprimary/music.pdf. March 2010.

Debord, Guy. “Théorie de la dérive.”  Internationale Situationniste #2 (Paris, December 1958). Situationist International Anthology (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2006). Translated by Ken Knabb. Online at: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm. Accessed December 8, 2008.

de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall, University of California Press, Berkeley 1984.

EContact! 4.3 Promenade Sonore/Soundwalk. Canadian Electroacoustic Community. April 2002.  Text, still images, sound. http://econtact.ca.

Goldstein, Malcolm. Sounding the Full Circle (concerning improvisation and other related matters). Sheffield, Vt., U.S.A: M. Goldstein, 1988.

Hall, Tom, Brett Lashua and Amanda Coffey  “Sound and the Everyday in Qualitative Research.”  Qualitative Inquiry. 2008 (14). 1019-1040.

McCartney, Andra. “Performing soundwalks for Journees Sonores, canal de Lachine.” Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts. Edited by Gabriella Giannachi and Nigel Stewart. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang. 2005: 217-234.

Ratcliffe, Krista. Rhetorical Listening: A Trope for Interpretive Invention and a “Code of
Cross-Cultural Conduct” College Composition and Communication, Vol. 51, No. 2. (Dec., 1999), pp. 195-224.
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