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Posted on Wed 10 Jan 2018

Sound walks in Bristol: Location/Route research

Exploring routes and locations in Bristol city centre

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Posted by

Vicky Clarke

Maker of sound sculptures, electronic musician and co-founder of Noise Orchestra


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Noise Orchestra

Developing portable Noise Machines that respond to light to play cities

We have been out and about around Bristol city centre exploring potential routes and area locations for our sound walks. It’s been really good to think about this in a city unfamiliar to us as it has meant we don’t have previous knowledge or preconceptions about areas of focus so we have been assessing these areas based on sonic parameters.

Here are a few of the locations we've considered and an explanation of different ways these could be interesting from a lighting input or sound input/output.

The Bearpit

Transit zone area, large intersection point. Interesting architectural levels (and circular!), imagining people playing noise machines at different heights. Lots of differently coloured lighting within the main walk through and four underpass walkways leading into central busy location with lots of cross movement of people with different brightness’s.  Plus buskers.

Walk up to and inc. St Nicolas Steps

Historical area, old markets and winding streets with differing brightness. Walk up to this area along main road, with light from passing cars and flashing pedestrian crossings. Leads into city walls area.

City walls/Back alleys

Walking to this point down very dark back alleyways (creates low oscillations), navigating through alleyways and coming out into brighter pedestrian zones. Changing architecture and the idea of taking the path less explored.

Cenotaph and Skateboarders

Wide open public space with ambient lighting in centre with outer edges/trees containing different coloured lighting on public water sculptures. We liked the element of the public congregating here,  especially the skateboarders and the sounds of the wheels, turns and jumps reverberating around the architecture – great for sampling.


Factors in choosing an interesting location/route:

  • ·    Variance of light including colour, brightness and rhythms
  • ·    Sonic borders – moving from historic darkly lit alleyways into brightly lit streets
  • ·    Architecture – materials/surfaces
  • Public meeting space
  • Historical/cultural

Next post will be findings from our first user testing with the New Talent Residency artists.

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Project blog by Vicky Clarke

Posted on Sat 16 Dec 2017

Circuit design for first user tests

Image of Noise Orchestra
Project blog by Vicky Clarke

Posted on Sat 3 Mar 2018

Interface/physical design and user experience