Narrating the City in Augmented Aur(e)ality

Critical Writing
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The idea of walking as the practice of narrating the city constitutes the recurrent theme of Michel de Certau’s “The Practice of Everyday Life:” the pedestrian activity is repeatedly compared to or described as “enunciation,” “enunciatory operations,” “statements” and “stories”. According to the French sociologist, “[t]he act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered” (de Certeau 1988: 97). The story of spatial practices “begins on ground level, with footsteps” (de Certeau 1988: 97) and “the art of >>turning<< phrases finds an equivalent in an art of composing a path (tourner un parcours)” (de Certeau 1988: 100). It might well be said that walking in the city represents not only the very prototype of ergodic literature (Aarseth 1997) but also predates the notion of augmented reality in its technological sense. One of the practices which directly address narrative potential of moving across space is soundwalking: theorized both as the classic method of acoustic ecology (Westerkamp 1974, 2002) and its current re-examinations (Paquette & McCartney 2012, McCartney 2012). In my paper I would like to analyze the practice of soundwalking as narrating the city in “the augmented aur(e)ality” (Noll 2017), yet shifting the focus to its mobile media, touch screen-based version. My case study will be Udo Noll’s radio aporee platform and its most recent incarnation: miniatures for mobiles (a platform for sound-based, locative and spatial micro-narratives, including the phone app). Therefore, the practice of narrating the city through walking will be analyzed from the double perspective: as augmented aur(e)ality and as the embodied experience played out on two levels simultaneously (as physically moving the body through space and as interacting with touch screens of mobile media).

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Susanne Ã…rflot ...