SOUNDWALKS -- Since 2004 I have been leading soundwalks for groups and individuals in NYC and the Bay Area. Some soundwalks have been led by me as an individual artist and some by me as part of the group that I co-founded, The New York Society for Acoustic Ecology. These walks are based on listening and involve fostering a deeper connection between oneself and the urban environment. They were originally modeled on the soundwalks of Hildegard Westercamp, a founder of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. Over time, my own unique creations have been developed that include various site-specific activities including eating local edible plants or therapeutic aromatherapy. When we focus on listening to the environment, other senses can be awakened like smell and touch, which can connect us to our immediate surroundings, and to our breath, to the ground. Though other senses are involved I still prefer to call them 'soundwalks' as listening is the main focus. I have taught courses on Sound and Ecology at various institutions, schools, and universities for ages 8-adult. The curriculum consists of listening, soundwalks, recording, and audio editing which sometimes includes soundmapping utilizing the NY Soundmap that I co-created with NYSAE in 2005.
Also, in collaboration with artist Lee Pembleton, I have a project called SleepWalks, which is an overnight, electronic music performance that introduces soundwalks into people's dreams. Most recently we have been collaborating with Todd Anderson, sleep researcher at Sheepdog Sciences in San Francisco. We have found that our theme often matches the dreams and collaborative dreaming has occurred.
Soundwalks have been led for individuals and also for groups through these organizations: The Whitney Museum, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Central Park Conservatory, Electronic Music Foundation (EMF), Canary Project, Mills College, California College of the Arts, Arts Benicia Gallery, NY Art Book Fair, Figment Festival, Conflux, CulturePush, and the Fountain Miami Art Fair.
Quote from soundwalker in Gowanus, Brooklyn: "The experience was amazingly intriguing. At first, I did start off the walk not really thinking more about it than my daily to do list. Once we started walking slowly it felt as if I had put myself in this ceremonial situation. I started thinking about the environment and questioning the sound I constantly heard my feet on the streets, but eyes saw much more. How could I hear the sun? Or this beautiful space? At times, I heard beautiful things: the birds, the Latin music in the cars, I even heard the water flow. Whatever happened, I don't know what, I transformed so serenely into a state of calm tranquility. Was it the environment? The sounds? The fact that I left the city and my to-do-list in the past?" -- Ambreen H.
ARTICLE on SOUNDWALKING (Soundfly, March 25, 2015): http://soundfly.com/soundfly-explores/what-is-a-soundwalk/