URBANtells is a mobile sound installation in which the user explores a neighborhood on foot, "data-diving" with a handheld device called digi-diviner. Participants will provide their cell phone and email address to an attendant at a kiosk. In return, they will be given a digi-diviner to walk and explore the neighborhood. A minute or so after they go outside a real time mix of sound art and verbal information triggered by their location will start to play through an earbud attached to the diviner. The information is a mix of recordings of residents and historians, text-to-speech synthesis, recitations, musique, and other processed sound. The information will address the complex layers of personal and collective histories and experience in urban environments, and the degrees to which these acoustic "tells" influence behavior and development within a community similarly to traditional, physical structures.
Users will be able to upload sounds, text, and still images they capture with the diviner en route. This information will be available to other users. Upon returning to the kiosk, participants will receive an interactive Google map of their specific walk via email, containing buttons to play sounds and view images they may have uploaded during their trip. Urbantells, a project by James Rouvelle, Joe Reinsel and Steve Bradley, opens June 2, ‘06 at Art Interactive, Cambridge, MA. [blogged by Regine on we-make-money-not]