- Mobile Performance
- Electric Speed
- Schematic as Score
- (Re)purposed Clothes
- Collaborative Spaces
- Device Art
- Digital Dub
- Rise of the VJ
- Sample Culture
Evening. Los Angeles. The sun is setting and the sky is filtering pink and coral light into the room. You are in the kitchen making supper, with the radio on in the background. Something changes in the room. Seagulls. Seagulls? Instead of normal station programming you are hearing the somewhat-frenzied cries of seagulls, squawking and chortling, feeding and flapping. What the? Is this a joke by the DJ? Some weird atmospheric interference? No explanation emerges. Is it birds on the roof of the building? Down in the street? You check the radio. Or you look out the window. No, they're definitely on the airwaves. You turn to another channel, it is operating as expected. You return to the birds, strangely drawn back to the anomaly. Now you hear a shopping cart rattling down an empty street...
Sound Sweep has just passed through the neighborhood, briefly perforating and reprogramming sonic space.
Sound Sweep is a mobile platform combining acoustic ecology, pirate/clandestine radio broadcasting and urban cartography. The broadcasts are transmitted from an "auto-casting station" driving through neighborhoods, districts and freeways, operating as a basic prototype for enfolding space and recasting images of the city. The broadcasts also announce a project website where the transmissions are offered as podcasts and recordists/participants are solicited. The project's title is borrowed from J.G. Ballard's short story of the same name, in which 'sound Sweeps' (sort of a cross between chimney sweeps and garbage collectors) vacuum sonic residue from homes, buildings and the landscape itself, depositing their sonic refuse in a dump at the edge of town.
As a city, Los Angeles is punctured by pockets of wilderness and marked zones of abandonment. An estimated 70-90,000 homeless people live in LA's urban waste-zones, particularly in the city's core. Some of these nomads participate as recordists for Sound Sweep, capturing and narrating images of a city far from its utopian promise. In an almost Ballardian fashion, downtown Los Angeles operates like a glittering prison, with certain actors cloistered safely in glass towers and hordes of others rotting in the streets below. And like the aforementioned sound dump, the streets act as an adsorbant after-image of the city, teeming with cacophonous residues - "A place of strange echoes and festering silences, overhung by a gloomy miasma of a million compacted sounds, it remained remote and haunted, the graveyard of countless private babels."
Many kinds of Noise permeate throughout the Sound Sweep transmissions- social noise, technological noise, political noise, semantic noise, tectonic noise, organic noise, dream noise...the noise sometimes forms space, sometimes erodes space and sometimes multiplies space, much like the zones and architectures of a city. Ultimately, Sound Sweep seeks to provoke a listener's environmental perception, bypassing visual representations, opting instead for a more physical relationship of emplacement and immersion.
Sound Sweep has been operating in Los Angeles with the assistance of four field recordists. New participants are welcome to send any sound or text for sonification (we convert text-to-speech) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sound Sweep website archives transmissions as MP3s available for download. For optimum spatio-sonic results, listen to these podcasts in urban spaces with headphones.