Karl Heinz Jeron • 2018

mobile radio transmitter and radios, electromagnetic fielddetector, Openstreetmap software, Projekt Gutenberg archive and the Festival speech synthesis

an audio walk for up to 20 participants as a dérive

While walking through the city eWalks combines GPS localisation with the OpenStreetMap map and the Gutenberg free etext archive to create the audio source for a mobile radio transmitter. Everybody who wants to attend the walk should bring their own radio. Through GPS coordinates and the OpenStreetMap map the street names are retrieved and used as search terms at Gutenberg.org. The results are converted to audio and broadcasted to the radios of the participants.

eWalks is a psychogeographycal audio guide. The artwork creates a fictional layer above the real world to create absurd or surreal situations. For the audio tours a magneticfield detector and the Openstreetmap software is used to get directions. A text to speech conversion of texts retrieved from Project Gutenberg are broadcasted through a mobile radio transmitter to nearby radios. The search at Gutenberg is directed by street names.

eWalks is a form of psychogeography, a type of conscious wandering developed by Guy Debord and the Situationist International. Psychogeography attempts to reveal the ‘real city’ underneath what Debord called The Spectacle, which can be generally described as the flashy and seductive commodification of ideas.

Specifically, the audio guides draw on the concepts of the dérive and détournement. The dérive, or, “to drift,” involves walking around and trying to follow the emotional and psychological trajectories of an urban environment, rather than the ones planned out for you (the shortest commute from home to work, etc.) To pursue a dérive was “. . . to notice the way in which certain areas, streets, or buildings resonate with states of mind, inclinations, and desires, and to seek out reasons for movement other than those for which an environment was designed,” explained Sadie Plant in 1992.