Annie SOUNDkitchen

This Sunday is my third and, for now, final experimental walk and it’s both the simplest and possibly the most interesting. While the other two are traditionally Guided Walks with “experts” leading you though an experience, this one is more freeform. Within a few parameters set at the beginning, and the occasional nudge from myself, you will decide as a group where you walk and what you see.

While you walk you’ll all be listening to a 60 minute soundtrack prepared by SOUNDkitchen‘s Annie Mahtani, using sounds gathered from around Birmingham from traffic to birdsong, with periods of silence to let the natural sounds through. At the start of the walk we’ll all press play together and experience these new sounds at the same time. The idea is it gently changes your perception of what’s around you in a synchronised way. Maybe.

The walk will start at the Custard Factory and head north towards the canal and the edge of the district. I have a good idea of where we’ll go but I don’t want to stick to it religiously. Digbeth is rich enough that I know we’ll find interesting things so I want to see where the music takes the group. You could think of it as a Debordian dérive, if you’re that way inclined, or a follow-your-nose ramble.

The walk is intended to be a fun experience in itself, but if all goes to plan there will be an interesting outcome. At the start of the soundtrack you’ll be asked to take a reference photo. By using the timestamp on that photo we’ll be able to tell what you were listening to when you took the photos.

My plan is to take everyone’s photos and plot them along the soundtrack. This could be as simple as an audio slideshow or it could be more complex. Maybe each photo will have a 30 second loop of the sounds that preceded it. I won’t know until I start to work on it. This new work will be completed by the middle of December.

And if this walk works we plan on extending the project, maybe opening it up to the world through a smartphone app or something. We have big ideas.

But right now we need to see if this concept has legs, and for that we need your help. The walk will take up 90 minutes of your time on Sunday from 12 noon. You’ll need a camera (any camera, from a fancy DSLR to your phone) and an mp3 player (we have 5 spares we can lend out) and that’s it. You don’t need to be a “photographer” or an “artist” – you just need to have eyes and ears.

Download the soundtrack here. It’s a 130 MB file so you’ll probably want to do it at home on wifi.

We’re meeting at the Custard Factory by the Green Man statue on Sunday 24th November for 12pm. Because I want as many people as possible on this walk I’m not charging a fee but need to know how many of you are coming. Please book using this Eventbrite form: