A good choice of fascinating outdoor direct sound streams from the main and side streets around the world could be found at the French website called Locus Sonus.
Not that long ago I wondered about those online audio streams that would bring the everyday charm of some faraway places apart from those I have already found – well, Locus Sonus seems to be the best answer to all questions so far.
Supplied with “Audio in art” motto Locus Sonus is the postgraduate lab project hailing from the south of France. It is based at the Art Schools of Aix en Provence and Nice but its microphones deliver pretty decent quality .ogg streams from a number of locations in different countries.
Currently Locus Sonus offers the following 24-hour broadcasts:
- 4th floor window at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston
- 2nd floor window at the apartment on the 13th street in Buga, Colombia
- artist and World Listening Project director Eric Leonardson’s window in west side of Chicago, USA
- Rhizome Art Center in Lijiang, China
- Museum of Modern Art, Medellin, Colombia
- Komplex artist-run studio spaces in Reykjavik, Iceland
- top floor apartment window in Sollefteå, northern Sweden
- dining room/garden in Le Vésinet, France
Here is a short sample from the Buga street recorded yesterday evening:
There’s always a privacy concern hovering over services like this – isn’t it a bit of eavesdroping? It looks like the Google Street View dillemma, some say it staring over their fence, the others say it stares exactly the same way as any other tourist with his point-and-shoot camera does. Locus Sonus encourages people to take part in this experiment. They offer detailed instructions on setting up a outdoor mic to broadcast your street sounds to the world and even provide the most motivated streamers with 170 euro LocuStreamBox already equipped with a microphone, sound card and wireless connection device.
Listeners can also make your own global mix by playing those sounds simultaneously, by doing that on a dedicated page on the website or – as I did – transfer the stream urls they like into the Winamp bookmarks to have them handy all the time. There are couple of dozens of non-active mics markers put on the project map and who knows if they may be enabled one day.
Published August 14th 2010.