Tracks is a new app designed for audiowalks. Offering a growing collection of soundwalks and many functionalities, Tracks connects anyone with a smartphone to the work of sound artists to be discovered in the most immediate way. Tracks is released in 2023.
Tracks gives you the possibility of finding soundwalks close to you or using various keywords, downloading or streaming them, orientating yourself on the interactive map which also triggers the programmed soundtracks if the artist chooses to, leaving feedback to the creators and sharing with others.
Audiowalks are guided walks thoughtfully combined with the sensory attention of listening. They offer stories, music, sound experiments, and all kinds of sensory information you might otherwise miss. Sight, scent, and feeling are present, but sounds take the lead. This modulates one’s usual sense of body and consciousness, promoting a new understanding of the environment. With every step, hear the artist play with sound, experiment with composition, and lead you to new perceptions. Think of a film, where sound and image are strongly linked and controlled by the artist. In audiowalks, the ‘point of view’ becomes the ‘point of hearing’.
Tracks is a further development of Soundtrackcity, the app for audiowalks that Roeland Landegent first developed for Soundtrackcity in 2013. In the summer of 2020, Jubilee artist Justin Bennett initiated a collaboration with Soundtrackcity, leading to the idea of creating a new app that unites the audiowalks produced by art organisations in Belgium and Amsterdam: Jubilee, Beursschouwburg, BNA-BBOT, Overtoon, Q-O2, and Soundtrackcity. Together, they curate Tracks – an app for audiowalks.
Designed by Michiel Uilen
Developed with the kind support of Visit.Brussels
Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi: Wolf Lake on the Mountains
We follow Viktor Koslovsky, a scientist still working at the otherwise abandoned Kola Super-Deep Borehole, a geological research station “at the border of everything” in north-west Russia. He tells of the history of this former cold-war project and of his current research which he describes as “listening to the past in order to hear the future”.
The Kola Super-Deep Borehole (KSD) is the deepest man-made hole on earth – more than 12 km deep. It was a Soviet geology research project started during the Cold War. In addition to gathering data about the geology of the earth’s crust it formed part of Project Globus, a network of seismic listening stations which was to act as an early-warning system for natural disasters as well as for monitoring enemy nuclear tests. After the fall of the Soviet Union the project was slowly wound up and the site was abandoned in 2008.
The rock strata that are visible in the core samples extracted from the borehole are seemingly inert to humans but on another time-scale they are very much alive. They tell the story of the formation of the earth and of ultra-slow processes that are still taking place within the earth’s crust. Thinking at this geological timescale puts human endeavour and progress into perspective, the Kola Super Deep becomes merely a pin-prick into the body of the earth.
Still, the image of drilling so deep into the earth inflamed the imagination of evangelical Christians with an image of Hell. The sounds of screams emanating from the inferno circulated on the internet purporting to have been recorded by the Russian scientists – probably a montage of horror-film soundtracks. The layers of rock penetrated by the drill resound with Dante’s decent into the Inferno with Virgil as his guide – where each layer or circle of Hell is reserved for different kinds of sinners, each with their own story. In which circle of Hell can the conspiracy theorists be found? Which is reserved for the climate change deniers?
At the KSD site, next to Wolf Lake, we meet Viktor, a geologist who worked on the project until it was shut down. Ever since, Viktor has stayed on-site as much as possible, carrying on the work started by Dr. Huberman, the founder of the project. He recounts the history of the KSD, relating it to other cold-war science projects, about the geology and history of the area, and of his experiences living there alone. He guides us around the ruined site, introducing his living quarters, his small laboratory and of course the borehole itself. He explains his work, listening to vibrations deep within the earth, linking geology with Sami shamanism and divination.
The Vilgiskoddeoayvinyarvi: Wolf Lake on the Mountains project began during a residency of the art and research project Dark Ecology in Norway and Russia in 2015. In June 2016, during the third edition of Dark Ecology it was presented as a site-specific audio walk in Russian and English, where the audience visited the KSD site itself with my piece acting as an audio guide. The footage to be used in the final film, along with extra sound recordings, was shot during the final production process in Russia. The images were shot in HD with a DSLR. The audio techniques are diverse, including binaural and surround (ambisonic) recordings. A three channel audio visual installation of it was shown at the 2017 Sonic Acts festival in Amsterdam. In 2018, a new version of it was presented at Artefact 2018 in Leuven, with drawings, charts, and historical photographic material alongside the video images and sounds. A single screen film (25 min.) will be shown around the world.
Production: Justin Bennett and Jubilee
Commissioned by Dark Ecology and Sonic Acts
Supported by STUK and Mondrian Fund
Presentations to date:
Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin festival of moving image; Paris (2019)
Science of Sound, group exhibition at at Dordtyart, Dordrecht (2018)
Geological Imagination, duo exhibition with Cecilia Jonsson at Terminal B, Kirkenes (NO, 2018)
SOUNDS LIKE SILENCE, talk/ screening during the release party of O, Wonder! #2 at Compagnie Theater, Amsterdam (2018)
Artefact Festival 2018, This Rare Earth – Stories From Below, audiovisual installation at Artefact Festival in STUK, Leuven (2018)
SALT ART: Selected from Dark Ecology, Sauna Session and screening at SALT Árdna, Oslo (2018)
Inversia Festival, Murmansk (RU, 2018)
The Noise of Being, a group exhibition at Arti et Amicitiae for Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam (2017)
A like-named site-specific audio work, which preceded the film, was presented during Dark Ecology, the third edition of the art, research and commissioning project in the border zone between Norway and Russia (2016)
An audio walk by Justin Bennett & Matthea Harvey
Stillspotting nyc is a two-year multidisciplinary project that takes the Guggenheim Museum’s programming out into the streets. Site-specific commissions in all five of New York City’s boroughs identify moments of urban quiet and stillness and respond to everyday issues of noise and anxiety. For stillspotting nyc: staten island, the fourth edition in the series , sound artist Justin Bennett and poet Matthea Harvey present Telettrofono, an audio walking tour that braids history with fantasy along and around the waterfront.
Antonio Meucci, a Staten Island resident of Italian birth, was the unacknowledged inventor of the first telephone (or telettrofono), conceived in 1849, when he accidentally discovered, while administering electrical shocks to a man suffering from rheumatism, that sound could travel along electrical wires. Many of his inventions – a marine telephone, a lactometer, flame-retardant paint and smokeless candles – went far beyond the imagination of his contemporaries.
For Telettrofono, Bennett and Harvey meld ambient sounds from the borough with invented noises, such as pianos of stone and glass, or a bone-xylophone, with a poetic script for an audio walking tour that weaves Meucci’s tragic true-to-life story together with fantastical elements. Bennett and Harvey envision Meucci’s wife, Esterre – a mermaid who leaves the water for land because of her love for the sounds above ground.
The walk in search of this storied couple meanders along the waterfront, past salt mounds and industrial sites, through historic residential neighborhoods and into places of discovery. The route is designed as a spiral to lead visitors out from the coast into the land, while the recorded story transports listeners out from the external urban environment into a state of introspection. Participants listen to the narrative soundscape through an imagined present-day telettrofono, a phone that is “smart” in the sense that it can enable listening under and across the water, dialing into fairytale and fact, mermaid choruses, and real and invented patent applications. The telettrofono guides the listener through changing perspectives on sound and place within the tale of the Meuccis from Florence and Havana, as well as the stories, sights, and silences distinct to Staten Island
A visit to Telettrofono consists of a self-guided soundwalk where participants engage in a walking tour around Staten Island, guided by the pre-recorded sounds transmitted through borrowed iPods. Visitors begin at a stillspotting kiosk located at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in St.George.
Stillspotting nyc is organised by David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, with Sarah Malaika, Stillspotting Project Associate, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Spectral Analysis is concerned with the history of the use of technology as a tool for exploring and revealing the invisible. The invisible or spectral domain can be thought of as the electro-magnetic spectrum outside of our vision, but also the unconscious or even the afterlife. ‘Acousmatic’ audible presences without an obvious visible source can also be thought of as belonging to this domain.
The background of this project is research into:
– Medical history: mesmerism, electro-therapy, phrenology, hypnotism, psychoanalysis, experimental and anti- psychiatry, psychoacoustics, music therapy.
– Occult history (spiritualism, theosophy, conspiracy theory) and its relation to modernist art and radical social movements.
– The role of technology in these histories, particularly at the turn of the 20th century and the transformation of these technologies with the coming of the digital age.
The role of the artist: the artist as experimenter, as inventor, as medium, as patient.
Up to now, the boundaries of this work have been explored in two sound walks (headphone-based audio-guides) and a series of drawings.
Spectral Analysis Krems – a series of “audio experiments” focussing on the relationship of electromagnetic radiation and sound. (produced by Kontraste Festival, Austria)
Spectral Analysis WG – we listen to the recorded notes of a psychiatrist as he accompanies a patient around the grounds of a hospital. Gradually he and the listener get drawn in to the experiments that the patient conducts with his self-made devices. (NASA, Amsterdam, produced by Sonic Acts, Amsterdam.)
An audio walk by Justin Bennett
Zuidas Symphony is a audio tour around the business district of Amsterdam and its surroundings, particularly the Beatrixpark, which has been the subject of many struggles over land use.
Listening to the surroundings themselves is the starting point of this work. Not just because the experience of the urban soundscape can be an aesthetic experience, but also because listening intently to the city encourages a radically different way of ‘seeing’ it.
What is the sound of the Zuidas? How does the soundscape change as the buildings rise and the environment changes daily. What is the relationship of city planners to sound and noise? Are the ‘open’ spaces of the Zuidas actually public? Can sound create public spaces?
These questions and more are explored through interviews, field recordings, pirate radio broadcasts and resident’s protests.
Zuidas Symphony was produced by Soundtrackcities and Virtueel Museum Zuidas