Sound Art Experiment to Collect Public Recordings to Be Played During Miami Art Week

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During Miami Art Week, anything goes. And despite the artistic free-for-all during the week, ordinary patrons don't necessarily get to participate. Gawk, drink, and party — sure. But actually make art? Not so much.

A new sound art experiment, however, wants the public to get intimately involved. 

Fordistas is an arts and culture platform created by South Florida Ford, and this year, it's creating an "immersive audio experience mobile app" dubbed Unreserved. Sound artist Halsey Burgund, a fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab and creator of Roundware (an experimental, GPS-enabled, open-source mobile audio platform) is leading the project. 

Miamians and out-of-towners alike will be able to download the app and contribute to an ongoing collection of voices, sounds, and music. The recordings will then be used to create an audio collage installation. 

"We will be asking participants to respond to certain questions and instructions to give them inspiration for their contributions," Burgund explains. "The prompts are meant to encourage reflections on specific spaces and unreserved expression. That said, the questions will be broadly interpretable, and we encourage any and all responses that are in keeping with the spirit of the piece. Even nonverbal contributions like street sounds or music are encouraged — any way people choose to express themselves."

Participants can engage with the geo-sensitive app from specific locations throughout Wynwood and beyond. 

"This piece is about the changes and evolution of an area, physically and in the minds of those who inhabit it and the individual experiences people have wandering though this area on a path of their choosing," Burgund continues. "I hope that over the time the piece is available, it will continue to collect more voices, sounds, and thoughts, which will feed into the experiences of future participants."

The actual installation will also evolve over time, like a "living organism," he says, and be will in place at the Fordistas Gallery in Wynwood.

"I hope it provides an outlet for the public to actively participate in Miami Art Week, which is something that the Fordistas Program has striven to achieve for a long time in support of the idea that art should be accessible to everyone, providing opportunities for expression where they didn’t exist before. With Unreserved, the intention is to bring local culture to the forefront as well as to allow people visiting Wynwood to leave a vestige of their experiences for others to hear later. Miami Art Week is highly focused on the visual, so creating a piece that permeates the area invisibly with audio is an exciting opportunity to break formats and expectations."

Available for download in the App Store and open for the public to contribute to as of December 1. The sound installation will be available for public listening at Fordistas Gallery and the adjacent Butter Gallery, both located at 2930 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. The public is invited to attend a free event introducing the experiment December 1 at 7 p.m. 

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