Participatory Art as Inner City Workshop: The Urban Remix Sound Project


Session Title:

  • Live Coding and Locative Sound Projects

Presentation Title:

  • Participatory Art as Inner City Workshop: The Urban Remix Sound Project




  • UrbanRemix is a collaborative and locative sound project to reinvigorate inner city communities through their participation in a public art event. It grows from within these communities and their specific surroundings. UrbanRemix enables participants to explore, develop and express the acoustic identity of communities, based on sounds they discover, record and remix in their neighborhood.
    The project consists of mobile and web-based software applications that allow users to document the obvious, neglected, private or public, even secret sounds of the urban environment. The collected sounds, voices and noises provide original tracks for musical remixes that reflect the community in a novel form.

    All events are designed around existing communities. Each event typically begins with a period of sound and image collection during which citizens explore their neighborhood anew. After collection is complete, DJs prepare a public performance in the neighborhood, using only the contributed content in their remix. In parallel, the public is invited to explore and remix the content online, both during and after the event. Final sound mixes, from DJs and other participants, can be shared online.

    UrbanRemix stands in the tradition of other pioneering locative sound projects such as Sonic City, Tactical Sound Garden Toolkit, or [murmur] but focuses on the participating citizen on every level from sound recording, to mixing, to shared listening. This emphasizes the role of participatory digital art practice as reinvigorating process in urban neighborhoods.

    The paper reports on the design and implementation of the software and on the results of various artistic installations. This includes an overview over the web, Android, and iPhone applications. The discussion of artistic results includes performances in collaboration with Glide Memorial Church, an active community church in San Francisco, projects with public schools in Atlanta and with the Beltline project, a major inner city transportation development in Atlanta. They present examples for public participatory sound art and how its production as well as its results reframe existing urban spaces.

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