Soundscapes are not new to the net, but with over 1000 different sounds in this particular archive, this project is commendable, even if only for its sheer scope.
Of course, Soundtransit is much more. According to the history of the work, this website grew out of the "Phonographic Migrations #3 Soundscape-FM", first exhibited at the Garage Festival 2004 in Stralsund, Germany. This experiential collaboration, according to the artists, was followed in 2005 by the "Berlin.Soundscape-FM" website for Transmediale. The earlier the sound works were recorded within the city of Berlin and were first made available as an online database, a local FM radio broadcast and a webstream.
Soundtransit takes the online archive one step further; setting up a community that is dedicated to the creation and the sharing of 'localized' sound files and the distribution of these files in a novel way. The three artists behind this project; Derek Holster, Sara Kolster and Marc Boon invite us to take a journey with them through their archive, editing, mixing and playing our own way through their extensive soundscape.
The journey has a global reach, but arriving is not the only goal getting there can be just as engaging. Journeymen and women are invited to plan their own routes, drawing on an interface that recalls a typical travel agent or airline company that generates the tailor made route for each and every journey. Each stopover becomes a node in the soundscape and the phonographic renderings reflect the local color and texture of each location.
The participatory nature of this project promises a singular experience for each and every traveler, and while playing the mix is highly rewarding in itself, the planning and setting up of the route is just as satisfying. As Web 2.0 services and environments pull people into loosely knit kinship this specific transitory bonding sets up a community that we can fly into and out of at whim.
["mongrel" /Honorable Mention]
I would like to recommend this work for an honorary mention. This is an interesting cross-media project, drawn from the idea of a 'radio trottoire' a "pavement radio' or the passing around of news and gossip between individuals on street corners. In step with the Web 2.0 notion of collaboration and participation, this community exploits the viral effect of today's mediaspace through the distribution of the London-based, Congolese community's cultural remixes (music and messages) over [mobile] phone messages. While the name of the game appears to be entertainment, in fact there is an implicit motive behind this project. Mongrel's stated goal is to keep the Congolese musical culture alive and vibrant and its novel distribution methods, therefore, are embedded in the community's own social history. I feel that his project provides and interesting intersection between culture and technology, pulling the two strands together in a novel and captivating way. Although the work may not be strictly aligned with typical Web 2.0 architectures, its participatory nature is certainly imbued with the Web 2.0 spirit.
According to Mongrel, (the Core Members are Richard Wright, Matsuko Yokokoji, Mervin Jarman, Richard Pierre-Davis and Harwood with many other people associated with the group - Matthew Fuller, Lisa Haskell, Carole Wright, Steve Edgell and Lani ) the aim of the Telephone Trottoire was to engage the London based Congolese community in issues that affect our day-to-day lives. Telephone Trottoire was essentially designed to defy media censorship (in a post-Napster era) by sharing news and gossip using Telephone Trottoire or 'pavement radio' thereby enabling the community to share in this spontaneous cultural exchange in a subversive, yet entertaining way.
Telephone Trottoire was developed in collaboration with the radio programmes "Nostalgie Ya Mboka" and "Londres Na Biso" (www.nostalgieyamboka.net).