August, 2018

Cut-up Text Walk

An automated, location-based radio broadcast for a city walk. Whilst walking text fragments with a reference to the street name are broadcasted. The program is computer generated and will be received by the participants with normal FM radios.

While walking through the city the microcontroller will combine GPS localisation with the OpenStreetMap software and the Gutenberg free etext archive to create the audio source for a mobile radio broadcast. With the help of GPS coordinates and the OpenStreetMap the street names will be retrieved and used as search terms at Excerpts of the results will be converted to audio (Festival Text to speech software) and broadcasted to the radios of the participants. The microcontroler will execute all steps automatically. For the audio tours a magneticfield detector will be used to get directions.

The artwork creates a fictional layer on top of the real world to create absurd or surreal situations.

Cut-up Text Walk 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 audiotours 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.

Photos © Marlene Burz