The Quiet Walk is an interactive mobile artwork created by Alessandro Altavilla and Tom Schofield.
It allows users to make a walking exploration of urban space, directed by sonic information captured on a smartphone. The goal of this exploration is to find the “quietest place.” Instead of using geographical references to navigate around the city, a custom made app running on a the mobile guides the user, encouraging him or her to avoid particular noisy areas of city by giving directions to find acoustically quiet zones.
The data collected generates a constantly changing map of the city according to the amplitude level of its sounds. The experience transforms the user into a temporary cartographer, technologically aided and at the same time detoured, drifted on the thresholds of acoustic territories. The idea proposed by The Quiet Walk is to investigate this relation, the intersections of public and private spaces, defining everyday urban acoustics and creating points where the user can build personal sonic memories of places visited, aided by the generated map.
As the mobile transmits its GPS coordinates in real time to the project server, a system of routes and trajectories is drawn, creating an acoustical trace of the user’s walk. The visualization displays a map showing the traces of acoustical data measured in decibels translated into traditional notation for musical dynamics (pianissimo, mezzo-forte, forte, fortissimo).
Idea, app and sound engine design: Alessandro Altavilla
Visualisation, app and code design in Open Frameworks: Tom Schofield
Read more on: alessandroaltavilla.net/home/project/the-quiet-walk/