Reprocessing Spaces

A psychogeographic study of urban sound in form of a sound-installation.

"Reprocessing Spaces” (2006) is a psychogeographic study of urban sound in form of a sound-installation.

Following the commands and rhythm imposed by an algorithm, two persons walk around in chosen locations in the city, recording a mix of noise, language, music and the sound of their own steps. The chosen locations are public places, such as public squares, parks, tram stations etc.

The algorithm contains a number of simple commands (left, right, forward, back, stop) and a metronome clock. It tells the two microphone carriers via headphones how to walk and provides a walking rhythm which gives the field recordings an underlying structure. Both recorded soundtracks are later played back on a sound installation at the exhibition site, which consists of a variable size matrix of self-made cardboard speakers placed on the floor approximately 2 meters from each other. The sounds "move" from speaker to speaker, reconstructing the paths of the microphone carriers at the time of the recording.

The acoustic result of this process is a mix of noise, language and at some places also music, sometimes fading from one to the other. The different sound-strata of urban locations emerge as they are reconstructed by the algorithmic pattern.

The visitors are invited by this spatial arrangement to walk around and position themselves in relation to the moving sounds. Since the recordings are made in the same city of the exhibition, a connection is made between the site of the exhibition and the surrounding environment of the city, activating the memory of the visitors, who are able to identify some the sounds abstracted from their original source.

"Reprocessing Spaces" generates a rich and alternative way to re-discover urban sound, by developing a custom format to transfer it from the recorded locations into a sound installation.