The group assignment for week three consisted in creating a sound walk located in the 721 Broadway Tisch building. Me and my group got together the day after we were assigned the project and even thought we didn’t quite know our concept in that moment we decided to start the process by getting to know all of the floors in the building, neither of us had ever been to other floor rather than ITP (4th floor).
Our original idea at that moment was to take people to a tour through all the “unknown” floors in the building, however we realized very soon that that idea was not that good in terms of guiding the user in an specific pace. During the process of recording the floors, we realized we had a lot of “door sounds” so we decided to start an exploration on door, at that moment we still didn’t know what the narrative will be, but we as a team decided that we wanted our audience to ask the same questions that we were asking ourselves: What is happening in this floor? and more specifically, What is behind that door?.
We have a very funny anecdote that affected the final result of our piece, while exploring unknown floors we started to test different doors and just walk around, while doing so we lost track of the location and we ended up in the emergency exit from Gallatin (don’t ask me how, I still have no idea). We felt very lost and it was impossible to understand how did we get there. Lucky for us, the zoom was recording while that situation was happening, therefore we decided to make our audience feel a little bit like how we felt that day: Exploring an unknown territory and enjoying being lost for 5 minutes.
Little by little the concept of the sound walk started to change. From that moment we gathered the sounds that we had and we tried to come up with an order of narrative that could include some kind of story telling to our (in that moment) very weird and repetitive collection of door sounds. We now believe that this kind of uncertainty gave us a lot of creative freedom that we might have not had if we would have done it in a more traditional way (like having a script first and then only following it). We are aware that the way that we worked might have not have been the most efficient way to do it but when we listened to our first draft we felt that everything made sense.
After putting together the clips and following the order of the story that we wanted to tell, the only thing left was to add some sound effects, which turned to be a very important part of our piece, specially because the amount of doors sounds with a plain and empty background noise would have bored the audience and we wanted to use some effects in order to engage the audience and at the same time transport them to an even more strange place than the one they were.
Another crucial part of our experience are the instructions. We want our classmates to read the instructions before they go out to do the SoundWalk and for that we designed a little infographic that shows 5 simple steps that they need to follow in order to start the experience.
The final phase consisted in two phases of testing, the first phase was internal testing. Each of the members of the team tested the sound with our daily use earphones (not the ones from the ER) . We went to the first floor, choose a stranger and accompanied them to their loor, once we got there we started walking and exploring with the SoundWalk.
The second phase consisted on external user testing, we gave the instructions to two students and asked them to do the SoundWalk and give us feedback afterwards. It was a very good way to identify some improvements that could be done to both the SoundWalk and the printed instructions (which we also printed in Braile to ensure accessibility).
The final result is an engaging, creepy and weird SoundWalk that motivates the audience to embrace the feeling of being lost as part of an interactive experience. We hope the class will enjoy our piece as much as we enjoyed making it.
Free Music Archive
· Film Take Scene 1A Take 1 Sound Effect by CMIC100