Networked_Music_Review

Always Something Somewhere Else

always-something.jpgGarrett Lynch writes about Always Something Somewhere Else by Duncan Speakman, a sound artist exploring ideas of memory, geography and communication. The work is a GPS based soundwalk that builds itself as you experience it. To create it I worked with Hewlett Packard in Bristol and their new mscape software.

In the work the listener is asked to locate various substances that form the contemporary urban environment (glass, stone, concrete etc.). As they mark the location of each one they begin to hear interwoven stories connecting them to remote locations around the world, soundtracked with a generative music score. The narratives are progressed and concluded as the listener returns to the locations they chose. The piece is reflective and sometimes melancholy, it touches on issues of climate change and global awareness, but ultimately encourages the listener to treasure the moments around them…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd8Fy9gyH1w[/youtube]

Always Something Somewhere Else depends very much on its story, its fiction, being engaging and it is. The narrator tells us about his location and the events he sees and remembers as he moves through it and asks us to find the same substances that he associated with these events in our location so we are both re-enacting his journey / memories and simultaneously creating our own. You want to find out more about the girl he tells us is climbing a tree and where the narrators poetic monologue is headed and so the work compels you to comply.

As you find each substance in the urban environment you are asked “will you remember this place?” (see image above, my stone) to which you respond yes or no by tapping a button on the touchscreen pda. This is in fact your current GPS location being saved, a waypoint marking your walking journey, but at no time is this indicated and it does not get more complex allowing the interface to really not become an obstacle to the work. The walk is in fact a loop which takes you back to where you began, approximately fifteen minutes outward bound throughout which you are told that we will come back to each location later and now to “keep walking”. The return journey, also obviously fifteen minutes, revisits the locations and notes how they have changed.

Luckily enough I bumped into Duncan and asked what would become of all the journeys/maps created throughout the weekend? Would this then be used to map all routes that had occurred of this re-enacted journey/memory? The response was that the journeys were not in fact saved longer than the running of the mobile application as they were the users personal fiction, their journey and hopefully would become their memories.

Some other work at the exhibition which played with similar(ish) themes to Duncan’s work (walking as an event, location etc.) was Simon Whitehead & Barnaby Oliver’s Wade (part of Dulais, Dulais Duck can be heard here) which was shown as an audio installation. You should of course know about the work of Richard Long who has been working with ideas of walking, location and site-specific art for years and as concepts Guy DeBord’s Dérive and Psychogeography.


Jun 25, 2007
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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