participatory augmented audio reality

I ‘m currently participating in an extension of a artistic project called “Potential City”, initiated by Gwenola Wagon and Stéphane Degoutin, “which aims at increasing the potential of the Forum des Halles in Paris, to put it on scale with the Parisian metropolis.” In the initial version , every participants had a gps mobile phone. According to the location, the mobile launches sounds, voices or texts. “Each soundtrack describes an aspect of the architectural project, associated with a place in the garden: vertical development of space, Savage Mountain, Silence Cabin, Sex Park..”. Such kind of simple augmented audio reality project is not new. The idea I want to push is the democratization of the authoring side, normally restricted to the project initiators. The goal is to let people experiment not only the listening side , absorbing the reality of others, but also reinjecting their own vision by creating or contributing to any virtual reality via their mobile phones or a web interface. See below for further scenarios & screenshots


Everybody will be able to quickly record audiotracks with their gps mobile phones, about his/her stories, experience, opinion associated to his/her surrounding, constructing a collective and geolocalised memories attached to the urban space , and that could be re-experienced, re-listened by other people through this mobile infrastructure. I also added tagging/semantics feature to enable the creation of collaborative distinct layers i.e. contextual reality (that could be combined afterwards). The point was to build a infrastructure providing a full cycle of absorption & injection of (geo)tagged audiotracks for everybody, enabling a collaborative and evolutionary construction of different audio realities.
(This video below is actually the normal version, without the participatory aspects)


Such authoring feature could enable people to create and share:

  • audio tour guides (Culture/History)
  • geo-based music playlists (according where you’re going the music played will change) (Music)
  • audio & geo localized reminders (Personal Management)
  • imaginary novels/stories (StoryTelling),
  • comments about urban-related issues / projection of future urban spaces (Urban planning/Architecture).


Compared to a common geo audio augmented reality project, I added:

  • Continuity in the space The common way to link web content with physical world is to use a specify location, a point. I use areas with fade in / fade out to emphasize a notion of continuity and smooth the binary aspect from the digital world(I’m in / I’m out
  • mixing spatial audio layers Possibility to have several sounds simultaneously (e.g. large ambiance covering an area and specific audio comments for more local place) from different layers (with fadein/fadeout for spatial mixing)
  • Semantic layer/network social tagging to create semantics and different layers of realities
  • People Participation in situ Possibility to create record soundscape and update maps from the mobile phone to enable participation from listeners


Here are some pictures from their websites.

A circle represents the place of a soundtrack

Interface of the iphone version and the participatory web site

More information about the previous (not participatory) version of this project .