Acoustic Commons - crowd-sourced archiving of real-time sounds

Maria Papadomanolaki, Grant Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Soundcamp will run a streaming laboratory with a presentation, a workshop building Rasp Pi based streamboxes, and a demo/performance of remote audio streams from listening points around Valletta.

These activities introduce the Acoustic Commons, an ephemeral archive created by streamers sharing the sounds of their locations in real time. Based on the soundmap and approach developed by Locus Sonus at CNRS Aix-Marseille, the Acoustic Commons explores more-than-human ecologies by ear, allowing listeners to tune to specific places remotely: a pond in upstate New York, a terrace in Kolkata, a roost of butterflies in Mexico state.

We describe how each stream gives rise to collaborative ‘communities of inquiry’ amongst participants (artists, activists, scientists), not humans (insects, birds) analogue equipment and digital networks. From domestic projects to formal research programs, these shared sounds create a paradoxical ‘live archive’ which can also be logged for long-term environmental monitoring (as at Cyberforest, Univ of Tokyo).

Contexts include the literature on ephemeral and intangible heritage, where nature and culture are literally entangled (as in Caitlin DeSilvey’s ruins 'beyond saving’); and collaborative art-science-activism as described by Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing and others. Tetsuo Kogawa's 'communities of transmission' offer compelling models for collective curation. Bruce Davis's 1970s proposal for a Wilderness Radio, as reimagined by Eric Leonardson, intersects with reevaluation of unresolved and unofficial places: wastelands and fallows of a '3rd land-/soundscape (Gilles Clément, Leandro Pisano) that escape conventional rural / urban definition.

Crowd-sourced experiences with real-time digital audio and live sound mapping can engage with such sites, potentially widening and enriching our sense of place.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018
EventDHRA 2018 : Creative Legacies: Collaborative Practices for Digital Cultural Heritage - Fondazzjoni Kreattività, Valletta, Malta
Duration: 9 Sept 201812 Sept 2018


ConferenceDHRA 2018
Internet address


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