Crank.Spin.Putter-Putter-Putter. Click. Swipe. Type. These are the sounds that circulate in my mind as I architect the #hearmyhome project. Most days, it feels like I am building the plane while flying it. Working to circulate and collaborate with participants, I network the project on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while simultaneously actually designing the platform. Other days, I feel as if I am a mere observer, watching, lurking, and learning from users whose soundscapes are helping me begin to earwitness to the everyday. Despite these setbacks and feels of failure, I want to talk about sound as a way to “hear” participant and user collaboration.
In addition to the CHI Fellowship, my colleague Cassie Brownell and I received support from the NCTE Research Initiative Grant to explore sound, more broadly, as a mechanism for understanding community literacies and cultural rhetorics. As I detailed in earlier posts, the #hearmyhome project examines everyday sonic compositions as expressive means for articulating culture(s). We were curious how composing with sound may attune us towards difference; or, what Vasudevan would call a “multimodal cosmopolitanism.” What I find most insightful, however, are not the sound symphony products, but rather the array of questions we receive as users and participants try to collaborate. “Am I doing this right?” “Should mine look like yours?” “What are you doing for the hard of hearing? How do we ‘listen’ and participate in the project?” These questions have invited us to take a step back and examine not only the formal structure of the project (the layout, design, and blueprint of HTML/CSS) but also the purpose and politics of participation. To whom and for whom are we listening, connecting, and building with?
Examples of #SE1 and #SE2 Soundscapes
Two sonic events (#SE) into the #hearmyhome project, we will continue to build, expand, and forward these types of inquiry while also working to co-construct (with participation from users and participants) a networked map detailing particular locations of soundscapes and sonic ecologies. As a sonic archive that examines everyday cultural heritage through rhythmic rituals and mundane music, we value an expansive range of voices. As we gear up for #SE3 (sonic event 3), we invite you to record, to lurk, to share, to like, and to participate in the project. Jump into the cockpit and help us earwitness the everyday.