Sounding Underground

Sounding Underground  is an internet-based sonic environment that links passengers’ listening experiences of commuting through the metros of London, Mexico and Paris. Its graphic interface and sonic navigational structure were derived from the exploration of both the commonalities and the uniqueness of soundscapes in Mexico and Paris, as counterparts of London Underground. The work was developed using an iterative method with 16 passengers in each city: remembering sounds, recording journeys, and selecting meaningful sounds from these recordings. A related output was ‘Listening and Remembering’, a networked performance involving passengers who expressed memories that were interweaved with sounds from their journeys.

Extracting common social, political and symbolic themes from Sounding Underground, the researcher created 31 radio documentary shorts commissioned by Fonoteca Nacional de Mexico.

This interdisciplinary work has been tested in international conferences in the fields of Human Geography, Anthropology, Sensory Ethnography, Soundscape Studies, History, and Computer Music, which highlight its innovative methods of capturing social experience. The work was awarded an Honorary Mention for New Genre by the IAWM New Music 2011 Competition, and a Special Mention for Soundscape work by the International Festival of Image 2011. It has been featured in Java Museum, Ear to Earth’s ‘100 x John’, and exhibited in Berlin, Boston, Burgos, Edinburgh, London, Mexico City, Morelia, and Nantes.

Related peer-reviewed publications include ‘Networked Improvisation for four commuters’, in CITAR Journal, ‘Sounding Underground: listening, performing and transforming the commuting experience’, in Sensate Journal, and ‘Creating Sounding Underground’ in Digital Creativity.


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