We’ve had so many fantastic responses since we launched Hackney Hear in February, and I wanted to take a moment to share two of our favourites with you.
Just this week, the award-winning Canadian producer Chris Brookes sent us this:
When audio features began in the last century, listeners had to cluster around fixed radios. Then came portable radios, and listeners could tune in while walking or driving through landscape. Next, features began moving in time, from fixed-schedule broadcast delivery to user-accessed computer downloads and smartphone podcasts – but with content still isolated from the listener’s landscape. Creations like Hackney Hear may be the next evolution for feature: moving in space, accessible by the listener in a way that melds form with content. A new genre of audio feature.
Unfortunately, the art of location-based sound documentary has been ill-served by the prevalence of “cellphone tourism” type walking tours – many of which consist of simple unidimensional information delivery. I walked through Hackney Hear last May and it is unlike any cellphone walking tour I’ve experienced. It’s more like entering a feature and swimming in sound, the user moving through a layered audio experience with a geographically-influenced narrative and a multidimensional sound design that engages the listener on many levels. It’s hard to describe it; you have to experience it.
The next is from Shane Solanki, who got involved with the project at a very early stage and composed the now infamous Lido Song (which was played recently as the Olympic torch came through London Fields).
We asked him to write something in support of our efforts to raise funds – we didn’t realise he’d be this passionate:
As we move into an age where information is consumed in a variety of ways, how can we make good work, which stands the test of time? Is the age of the novel, or the album, dead? Will children need to read Pride and Prejudice when they can watch Avatar instead? What is the role of antiquity in the digital age?
Students of the future have smartphones in classrooms, and will be ‘consuming’ art via apps – so I guess I have a vested interest in Hackney Hear, in terms of the fact that it approaches app technology with a cultural remit. Unfortunately, libraries will close over the next 50 years. Hackney Hear, and products like it, represent a shift in the way that we consume information. Hackney Hear is Hackney’s library of the future.
We still get messages, of course, drifting through the Twittersphere as people discover the app. But please, get in touch and share your experiences: @hackneyhear is the place to find us.