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Locative Listening and the Construction of Dynamic Hybrid Space

10:00 AM, mercredi 15 août 2018 (1 heure)
When the contemporary pedestrian travels from home to work, campus, or coffee shop wearing earphones and listening to a mobile device, he is not trying to find silent refuge from the noise of modern life, rather, he is striving to replace one sonic overwhelm with another of his own choosing. Sound is unique in its ease of subversion and the degree of experiential immersion that can be achieved through such an act. The nature of listening that I will discuss is one that by way of design takes the quotidian act of mobile listening to a much more structured level of auditory experience with the hope of eliciting an event that is both multi-sensory and potent.
As defined by Adriana de Souza de Silva, hybrid space is characterized as “social spaces created by the combination of physical space with digital information and the mobility of user equipped with location-aware interfaces.” (DeSouza 2006: 179) While this definition explicitly defines hybrid space as one that requires location aware technology, I will explore a broader definition of the term that explores the notions of space, place, private public space, and virtual embodiment. While my exploration of hybrid space is concerned with the split between the real and the virtual, dynamic hybrid space introduces observations of the ways in which temporality exerts a very strong influence upon the experience.
My creative work with locative listening has involved GPS-enabled storytelling (Strathroy Stories, The CHEZ) as well as QR Code-activated listening experiences (The Other Side of OZ) and has raised questions about the potency of this type of listening as not only entertainment and heritage/archival documentation, but also as pieces of virtual embodiment and performative listening. More recently, I have been exploring the idea of “Perceptual gaps: AR, VR, and Linking Structures” as described in the list of conference topics, by developing projects that incorporate a deeper exploration of hybridity through the delivery of stories that are experienced both inside and outside of gallery space. With my recent project, Fractalize 1: Ive Loved You from Afar, users experienced the project in the form of: immersive three wall projection with soundscape and VR/360º video gallery exhibits, Twitter Salon/Cyborg Soirée, video walks, web videos, photographs, original music, text messages, sound art, 360º video, Spotify playlists, and social media posts. Characters within the narrative had their own social media identities which were regularly updated over the course of the exhibition, creating a blurring of the lines that separate reality and virtuality. The closing reception for the exhibition included a moderated artist talk and video walk that revealed missing bits of information required to fill in narrative gaps and complete the story. Twitter Salon/Cyborg Soirée explored the improvisatory/aleatoric nature of interaction between audience members and independently controlled: visual projections, soundscape, music, text to speech, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, creating a live environment that evoked a state of collective-sensorial immersion. One user described the experience as “swimming in a story that I was watching, but also starring in.”
York University
Senior Researcher AR Lab