For the Sound Walk September Awards 2019, over 60 contributions were accepted, connected to over 80 events worldwide. Accepted pieces were sound walks, or walking pieces, created in 2019. A huge variety of formats, approaches and subjects from a wide range of creative disciplines, including arts, heritage and history, health and wellbeing, silence and architecture, social practices, journalism, performance, literature and theatre, ecology, and tourism. Recurring was that many works had a consideration for the planetary ecological and human crisis of today.
Eventually, taking into account the online votes submitted by the public we came out on not one, but two winners, as well as four honorary mentions.
The two winners were selected based on their explicit contemporary relevance, while seen as daring attempts to build bridges with our oral history, or our contemporary society and the future of soundwalking. The winners are Forest Talk Radio by David Merleau (Canada) and Entangled Formation by Anne Cecilie Caroline Brunborg Lie (Norway).
Forest Talk Radio weaves together folktales and forest science to produce a radio comedy experience delivered right to your smartphone as you walk the trails of the Laurier Woods Conservation area in North Bay Ontario, Canada. Forest Talk Radio is a locative storytelling project, departing from the prominent place of forests in the many traditions of oral storytelling found around the globe. With site-specific data collected from the North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority and inspiration from Fred Pinto, an internationally recognized forester and president of Friends of the Laurier Woods, David Merleau conjures an intimate walking radio experience, one that will leave you thinking that humans have more in common with trees than you ever thought possible. The work, in constant progress, is created and available on the platform CGeomap.
Entangled Formation is a sound walk that takes the movements of local and migratory bird species and the human residents and visitors of Prague, with a focus on where and how these lives entangle. Together with ornithologist Petr Vorisek from the Czech Ornithology Society, the artist is mapping home steady and migratory birds and their living patterns around the city, as well as how we affect birds’ lives, and vice versa, connected through site-specific sounds and stories, which the audience can listen in on, on the audio walk platform Locosonic.
The honorary mentions are going to sound walks and walking pieces that stand out as original and inspiring for sound walking today by revitalizing existing formats and subjects.
Unseen, a Soundwalk set in Warsaw (Poland) by John Beauchamp for Adam Mickiewicz Institute / Culture.pl, available on Echoes, recalling hidden stories and unearthing lost sounds from places wiped off the map of Warsaw.
Wander Weed by Stefaan van Biesen and Annemie Mestdagh. A performative walk in Beveren (Belgium) without any use of technology and a combination of conversations, a reading, a space specific practice, with environmental listening and introspective practices, based on the last letters of Charles Darwin about the world of plants.
Taman Tugu: Interference/Resistance by Yonatan Collier in Kuala Lumpur. This sound walk reclaims jungle in the centre of the city of Kuala Lumpur. The sonic world of the jungle will be at turns merged with, augmented, and disrupted by electronic sounds created from field recordings. Available on Echoes.