‘Sound walks’ provide a brand new strategy to travel in lockdown | Travel
Tthe roar of the neck begins on my right, then rotates around to my left as I turn. But I just keep quiet, because the beast isn’t there – it’s a deception. I was on a street corner in Leeds on a bright, cold morning with no thousands of bears – or there had been for more than a century.
Between 1840 and 1858, before Burley Park became a tiger and stone house, the road I represent was part of the Headingley Zoological and Botanical Gardens short. I’m on a safe journey around the remnants of its walls, and have just arrived at Bearpit Gardens.
A Garden Through Time, produced by the local project 365 Leeds Stories, is a visual, geo-listener – one of the 50 UK-based content available on the Echoes program. When I travel, the GPS on my phone monitors my actual movements and responds by initiating music, voice and speech. At Bearpit Gardens, Pauline Mayers, an artist and illustrator, described how the flora and fauna in Britain’s botanical and botanical gardens symbolized empire and slavery during the Victorian era. It is clear, effective and centered. The sound of birds in my ears subsides as I walk from Bearpit Gardens.
Like many people, I have struggled with incarceration during the epidemic, but better transportation has provided a new way to travel – physically, emotionally and, in some cases, over time.
The house built after Headingley Gardens has been closed, and includes another section of the old wall. Photo: Lorna Parkes
“The beauty of it is that we are a great church,” says Andrew Stuck, who in 2017 recorded the so-called Sound Walk September. Each year, people from as far away as Japan, Belgium and Brazil send similar tours – similar to A Garden Through Time – on the Walk Listen Listen Create Create platform. Entries are removed from the list until recently in October by an independent panel and the winner is selected at the end of the year.
This year’s list is short from art to reporting and travelogue. Others, such as Bath Workhouse Burial Ground: Walking Names, are leaf movements. The fragment includes a column count from the funeral procession that begins as you walk around the unmarked grave of 3,000 people who were destroyed in the bathhouse of Bath between 1858 and 1899.
Some are like audio tour guides: The Last Eccentrics of Greenwich Village captures audiences as they roam the New York area through the roots of the 1960s.
Other notable exceptions may be in the chair. My favorite is The Ears May Travel, which describes itself as a “power vacation”. Part of it is a meditative swim from the cave to the city of Crete. Its creator, Carina Pesch, uses binagery (with several microphones) to create a 3D stereo system: it feels like moving waves in the middle of a swim. “I’m very impressed with the limited margin between fact and fiction, because sometimes it can be moved,” Pesch says.
Although there were difficulties in making clear signals during the epidemic, enrollment increased by 44% this year, and the number of people enrolled in Sound Walk September (which happened this year) also increased. Designed to be self-sufficient, sensible experiences sound like the perfect fit for the deep pit we live in.
Advances in technology have also helped to motivate new manufacturers. Software developers such as Echoes and Gesso, and a tool to use CGeomap map design, have all participated easily and simply. “Most people have mobile phones, which give you the opportunity to make a variety of fun movements, as well as follow them, download and listen to them,” says Stuck. The international community of fine artists includes musicians, songwriters, radio producers and co-writers. The fruit of this kind of union is a clear game.
Our thirst for music also grows. Last year Ofcom also reported that 7.1 million people in the UK listen to podcasts every week – a 24% increase over last year and double over the past five years. Similarly, a Deloitte report last December predicted that the global audio market would grow by 25% by 2020, to $ 3.5bn. Perhaps these events are related to the development of cognitive and auditory ability to speak. Comprehensive clear healing advice based on the idea that voice washing can enhance attention, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. And the British Academy of Sound Therapy is now offering diplomas in artistic arts that “celebrate the human voice as a way to transform, create and support”.
The time when most people struggle to get too far from their outer door, being transported to another time or place can be the next thing. Go inside: it sounds great.
• Visit walklistencreate.org or download the Echoes app to view global travel