New Wireless Phonography in Urban Space: audioTagger

Eva Sjuve

audioTagger is a mobile-phone-urban-intervention-sound-art-project. audioTagger is wireless phonography, exploring sound in urban space with locative recordings using a mobile phone. A momentary event is captured as sonic snapshots of urban life, using the most ubiquitous networked tool at present, in a seamless computing environment, between mobile phone and the Internet. audioTagger is using the sound recorder in the mobile phone to capture sound, mail the audio file to audioTagger, and view the result on a Google Map. audioTagger’s sound files can also be listened to on the mobile phone via a downloadable networked java player. audioTagger is part of research in sonic applications of wireless devices in a mobility context. The mobile phone, is used to explore hybrid mediated space. audioTagger can be defined as wireless phonography bridged with network mapping. The participant signs up to audioTagger, and receives instruction on their mobile phone on how to proceed. The participant records a sound file and emails it to audioTagger. Location and its geo-coordinates are calculated using street addresses.


Field recording have been used for various purposes, scientists collecting bird songs, musicologists recording music, or as sound effects for film, radio, and television. Field recording generally means it has to be planned ahead, to bring the recorder, microphones and batteries on location. Using the mobile phone, already sitting in a pocket has different set of characteristics from regular field recording. It can be used instantly, and might capture something quite different than a planned field trip with a high quality audio recorder.

The artistic context of audioTagger can be traced to telephone art, mail art, and location based art, dating from the 1950s. This includes artists such as Constant Niewhaus, the Situationists, and Vito Acconci’s explorations of public space.

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