Admiring the work of the Alter Bahnhof Video Walk in Germany, I sought to create a similar experience on Grinnell’s campus. The evolution of this project through various stages has brought me to a simple but important piece. The videos I recorded focus upward throughout a roughly 15 minute walk, providing enough visual cues to allow the participant to effectively follow the geographical progression of the video. I chose this style of recording to minimize the distractions provided by the visual aspect in order to encourage the participants to expend more focus on the auditory component. Secondarily, it requires that the participant examine the entire space in a manner to which they are likely unaccustomed, laying the groundwork for discoveries by multiple senses and, potentially as a result, the optimism of looking up occasionally.
The auditory component is comprised of both the sound from the original, recorded walk and the sound which is generated live along the participant’s individual walk. The video component of the sound has not been added to or significantly altered, other than attempts to clear up unnecessary recording static. The live component of the sound adds interest to the piece because it creates a unique experience each time which encourages the participant to focus their attention to the broader world as it relates to the video. Some of the sounds are innate to the activity, such as opening a door, while others will occur only live or only on the video, such as a passing car or conversation snippets. I hope that participants will engage with the junction of these experiences, allowing both the louder and quieter moments of their walk to connect them to their surroundings, both in time and space.
Though partially described above, I want to briefly cover the process of creating this piece. Initially, I experimented with a few different video lengths, walking paths, styles of filming, and filming equipment. The best audio came from a portable video camera with the most effective visual occurring, not surprisingly, during daytime filming. When I filmed straight in front of me, I found the visual of people walking by, seeing the time on many clocks around campus, and other cues which identify the source of sound too distracting from the sound.
After many technological difficulties encountered with Reaper and the plug-in ReaFIR, I minimally manipulated the sound, needing to strip the video of audio then return it upon the completion of editing.
I filmed a couple video walks, only one so far successfully uploaded to youtube. In a more complete installation, I would have more than one QR code around campus, at the various starting locations, so that one could pick up wherever they like.
TO PARTICIPATE IN SOUND WALK: