September: Sound Walking Experiments in Haecceity and Allography

CC-BY-NC: John Bowers

The walking arts are often celebrated for the attention they induce on the here-and-now, the particular qualities of things as they are encountered on the walk, the contingencies of experience – haecceity to use the word associated with a philosophical preoccupation dating from Duns Scotus to Deleuze.

However, soundwalks often also make use of or generate recorded materials as walkers wear headphones or carry recording devices, thereby creating a tension between haecceity and what might be called, following philosopher Nelson Goodman, allography, a writing from elsewhere/elsewhen.

We propose to dedicate September 2020 to a series of sound walking experiments which explore the tension between haecceity and allography productively. In particular, we intend to make DIY devices to accompany the sound walker which mediate between haecceity and allography in various ways.

For example, we imagine footfall and gait synthesizers which embed contact microphones in the walker’s shoe or use tilt switches to trigger battery operated portable synthesizers in response to the roll of the walker’s body. We imagine taking a modified surveyor’s measuring wheel for a walk, its clicks adding to the local soundscape. We imagine recording a walk through biophysical data of the walker’s breath and pulse.

Amongst other means. We intend to combine such audio and data recordings with more conventional field recordings to create a corpus which can be variably selected from, juxtaposed and subjected to further transformation (e.g. data sonification to support what is often called, for us aptly, wave terrain synthesis ).

A web-streamed improvised radio performance will culminate our work and we will develop a website documenting our experiments. Our experiments will be located in Tyneside and East Anglia (UK), The Netherlands, Switzerland and France.

See website and Facebook event page for more specific information as it becomes available.

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