Final Project - "Walking to Bridge"

In approaching this final project I felt drawn to make an artifact that could synthesize my research into Psychogeography (writing, films, walking), Acoustic Ecology + Soundscapes, and NYC noise pollution.  I also wanted to integrate some inventive sound design and make a piece that played within it's own stylistic rules.  

This video incorporates direct and remixed quotes from Guy Debord (head of the Situationist Intl, Patrick Keillor (Robinson in Space), Janet Cardiff (Her Long Black Hair), and Robert McFarlane (A Road of One's Own).  It attempts to suggest visual metaphors through the use of 'picture in picture' edits, creating thematic connections and new geographies.  

Regarding the soundtrack, the audio has again been turned into MIDI, and then passed through resonators to create harmonic drones that sit in the background of the mix, as well as turning more discrete sonic events like car horns and sirens into notes on the piano, crotales, and cello.  This was recording using a Sony PCM field recorder for the footsteps (with dress shoes for better sounds) and some of the field recordings I captured while videoing/walking.  The Ambisonic Sennheiser Ambeo VR mic was used for capturing cityscapes when I returned to the locations while not holding a camera.  The nondiagetic sound as an approach to derange the senses of the listener/walker are used throughout this piece, which was a direct reference to the impact of this simple trick in Cardiff's Her Long Black Hair.  This would be an integral part of the audio guide/sound walk experience I plan to make, for which this piece then also serves as a proof of concept.

I really see this as the beginning of work I'll do for my thesis: a walking guide that combines elements of Janet Cardiff's soundwalks, Patrick Keillor's films, R. Murray Schafer's soundscape recordings, and Paul Lansky's music.  Bundled within an AR location-aware application, I think there's a rich recipe here for impactful immersive acoustic storytelling.

Description: A narrator's soundtrack accompanies you as you explore your way from south Brooklyn to Manhattan on foot, offering historical information and poetic prompts that encourage you to look and listen to the urban landscape. Part video poem, part proof of concept primer for a guided psychogeographic walking experience.

Temporary Expert is one of the most rewarding classes I've ever been lucky enough to take, and the ability to wander off into various directions with my research has been a joy and a great lesson.  Marina is an incredible intellectual guide, and I'm going to miss her and this class very much next semester.   

Prototyping the final project

This week I tried to clarify the vision of my project.  I read a bunch, conducted two interviews and scheduled two more (find this documentation in my running research threads), and prototyped a technique to put soundscapes into conversation with one another.  Through multichannel mic experiments I did last week for my Alt Docs class, I began to see how simple editing of these sources can add theatrical characteristics to sonic environments. 

This is similar to sound artists like David Dunn (The Sound of Light In Trees) and Chris Watson (El Tren Fantasma, Weather Report), wherein sonic collage stays closely tethered to realism but punches up the natural attributes of a soundscape.  It conflates the elements of an environment into a singular and more dynamic character that we more easily perceive as telling a story, particularly when we place these characters into conversation with their urban counterparts.  Architecturally these sorts of conversations play out visually; in the case of Central Park we see skyscapers looming at the perimeter.  Through listening, sound walks and acoustic ecology can give us a sense of place that allows us to consider many urban issues from a new vantage point (density, gentrification, demographics, environmental damage, biodiversity, etc).  

This week I used two NYC soundscapes - a generic street scene and a moment from Central Park - and began by transferring that audio data to MIDI.  Some of my reading this week talked about sound as memory, and in that way it also translates directly to data.  The translation of sound to MIDI data is often an interesting and flawed process, but through the Ableton algorithm's sometimes curious decisions it begins to take a literal translation into the realm of the abstract.  This data then allows me to further abstract the material, and in the end I think I reached a place that reads as a conversation, albeit an abstract one.

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A bit more of the research included here that influenced this week.

Anne Guthrie's piece from the Urban Omnibus (publication of the Architectural League of New York) is a wonderful survey of many of the things I'm working with in this project.  She touches on R. Murray Schafer and his insights into Soundscapes and listening as a way to understand and ultimately improve our acoustic worlds through sensitivity training.  This type of training involves soundwalks, and ear cleaning's as he called them.  

"The essence of Schafer’s theory is this: humans did not become enveloped by a blanket of industrial noise because they liked the sound, but because they ignored it. Keeping noise levels under control is good for health, but it doesn’t discriminate pleasant sounds from harsh ones. Humans need a varied soundscape to give them a sense of place, to enrich their auditory systems, and to enhance social interactions. Once they are more aware of these sounds, they are more inclined to push for a decrease in other, less pleasing ones...They may encourage new public works of sound sculpture or sound design to enrich the environment and preserve fading activities in order to prevent sounds from disappearing. Even if this kind of sonic activism doesn’t catch on citywide, it can at least improve our personal experiences of navigating the streets of New York."

Weeklong Daily Makings - Cognitive Maps

This week I embarked on a daily cognitive mapping exercise.  I walked, biked, and ran, making recordings of interesting sonic moments on those adventures that changed the way I felt, made me pause and observe, or altered the space or my behavior in some way.  This was an exercise in observing the way the city and I affect each other through sound and listening.


Thursday night, 11 pm.  Biking home through Prospect Park from Jacob's house.  The counter rhythms of my wheel spokes against the crickets that beckon fall.  I pass virtually no one on the path. Does my brain try to make musical sense of these polyrhythms the way Seth Horowitz believes?  I have no memory of that. I’m trying to bike and record at the same time.


Friday 3 pm, Washington Square Park.  I take a break from ITP and walk to the park, around the fountain, and back to school at 721 Broadway.  In the east corridor of the park I pass a saxophonist riffing by himself.  The lunch rush in the park is over, the sounds of the sax drift aimlessly.  Maybe he was playing with a trio earlier.  Poetic lingering.


Saturday 11 AM, my walk to the 25th street R stop from my house on 19th street in South Slope, Brooklyn.  I enter a Bodega on 5th ave.  Spanish from the TV and the other customer's conversation with the proprietor remind me that I am a visitor here.  I pay for the drink and chips and the counter and temporarily the space changes to my presence as it/he switches to English.  As I leave it I assume it switches back.


Sunday 4 PM run through Prospect Park.  I leave my house and do my usual jog.  I stop and stretch at the Drummer's Grove drum circle in the southeast corner of the park.  Happy people,  incense and bbq smells mix.  I have no effect whatsoever on the space.  I walk away feeling energized and being to jog again.


Monday 8AM, walk to Roots Cafe for coffee from my apt on 19th Street.  Before I get to the corner of 5th ave I pass the construction crew digging through the asphalt on my block to lay a new pipe underground.  One of the crew notices my field recorder but doesn't seem interested in it or my presence.  I think to myself this is the worst sound you could hear before you've had coffee on a Monday morning.  I think about the ambient anxiety that sounds like this add to our urban qualities of life.


Tuesday 12 PM, pouring rain.  I run out my apt to the corner of 6th ave to Southside Coffee for a rainy day americano.  I run back.  I record the rain underneath my front door awning.  I remember life in Seattle.  I love this feeling.  No one can do much in weather like this.  We stay inside and drink coffee.  We submit to the conditions of the world in these moments. 

Psychogeography - Experts and Related folk

Expert interviews:  

Luke Dubois, professor.  Chatting on Monday about the project.

Jean-Luc Cohen, my music tech professor of Sound Synthesis.  I'm going to speak with him at more length next week regarding generational musical algorithms that could receive my field recordings as an input and then output or overlay the source material with a bit of musical Csound code.  The way Eno has worked in the past, creating a palette that gets generated differently but within the same set of rules each time it runs.  He recommended I look into R Murray Schafer The Tuning of The World (purchased) as well as the Csound Book's chapters on generative musical algorithms.  


Mark Cartwright, post doc researcher working at Steinhardt Music Technology program on SONYC noise pollution project...

SONYC is probably interested in building out some API’s down the road for people to play with their noise pollution machine listening data


DEP - Department of Environmental Protection, an NYC agency


Auditory Salience - hard to measure, unlike with Visual Salience because you can use eye tracking to understand what people are looking at.  Hard to tell what people are listening to within a sound field, and difficult to tell what may be annoying/disturbing/stimulating, etc to them (  ... there are a lot of automatic speech-to-text APIs and services...
Peter Ablinger - voice to piano dude





Marina Zurkow - NewTown Creek piece

Rebecca Solnit - writer

Janet Cardiff - sound walk artist, nytimes piece

Holladay brothers - site specific music apps

Chris Watson - field recordings and sonic collage

Pejk Malinowski - audio narrative work

Stephen Vitiello - Bells piece on the Highline

Zach Layton - Issue Project Room

Ryoji Ikeda - visual, site specific electronic music installations

Andy Goldsworthy - site specific land art

Psychogeography Research - running thread

New Concepts:

 Solfeggio Scale

The “natural” frequencies that heal humans of various spiritual, emotional and physical ailments.  532 and 438hz are common for meditation, focus, wellbeing. 



the idea that western music is Abstract Music and that a Spectralist approach to tonal distinctions within an octave - 43 instead of 12 notes - is more corporeal is fascinating. A la the Fluid Piano.   

 Spectral music (or spectralism) is a compositional technique developed in the 1970s, using computer analysis of the quality of timbre in acoustic music or artificial timbres derived from synthesis. (from Wikipedia)


Defined in technical language, spectral music is an acoustic musical practice where compositional decisions are often informed by sonographic representations and mathematical analysis of sound spectra, or by mathematically generated spectra. The spectral approach focuses on manipulating the spectral features, interconnecting them, and transforming them. In this formulation, computer-based sound analysis and representations of audio signals are treated as being analogous to a timbralrepresentation of sound.

The (acoustic-composition) spectral approach originated in France in the early 1970s, and techniques were developed, and later refined, primarily at IRCAM, Paris, with the Ensemble l'Itinéraire, by composers such as Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail. Murail has described spectral music as an aesthetic rather than a style, not so much a set of techniques as an attitude; as Joshua Fineberg puts it, a recognition that "music is ultimately sound evolving in time".[1]Julian Anderson indicates that a number of major composers associated with spectralism consider the term inappropriate, misleading, and reductive.[2] The Istanbul Spectral Music Conference of 2003 suggested a redefinition of the term "spectral music" to encompass any music that foregrounds timbre as an important element of structure or language.[3]


At its simplest, Mythogeography is a way of walking, thinking and visiting a place on many levels at the same time. Anyone can do it. You can do it. Walking becomes a performance, walkers become performers and the route becomes their co-star.


In a city, for example, walkers become aware of their urban home as a site, a forum, a playground and a stage: all there to enjoy, understand and provoke on multiple levels:

  1. Shops, houses, streets
  2. Tourist sites, visitor centres, museums, heritage industry
  3. Visible archaeology and history
  4. Community/social/collective ambitions, hopes, disappointments, failures
  5. Personal memories and recollections
  6. Invisible and forgotten history
  7. Concealed history (crime, disease, squalor)
  8. Childhoods, loves, hates
  9. Myths, legends and rumours
  10. Private dreams, imaginings and fantasies

The levels of the city are reflected back in the many levels of the walker - the public and the private, fact and dream, admissible and inadmissible, forgotten and remembered, past and future.


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New Media/Site Specific:

One Place after Another: Site Specific Art and Locational Identity by Miwon Kwon


Site Specific Art: Performance, Place and Documentation by Nick Kaye


The Engagement Aesthetic: Experiencing New Media Art through Critique by Francisco Ricardo


Visual Music by Brian Eno


Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller piece in NYTimes -    


Sound Studies:

Acoustic Communication by Barry Truax


Sonic Thinking: A Media Philosophical Approach edited by Bernd Herzogenrath


Low End Theory: Bass, Bodies and the Materiality of Sonic Experience by Paul Jasen


Mixed Reality:

Performing Mixed Reality by Steve Benford and Gabriella Giannachi



Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord


Psychogeography by Merlin Coverley


Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place by Will Self and Ralph Steadman


You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katherine Harmon


Developmental Time, Cultural Space: Studies in Psychogeography by Howard Stein


Insight and Imagination: A Study in Knowing and Not Knowing in Organizational Life by Howard Stein


A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit


Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit and Liisa Ivary


Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life by Colin Ellard


Maps from the Mind: readings in Psychogeography by William Niederland and Howard Stein


Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives by Sarah Williams Goldhagen


Spirits of Place by Alan Moore

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Psychogeography- how can a playful exploration of the way that physical spaces affect our emotions and behaviors inform environmentally informed projects regarding the use of spatial sound and augmented reality.


    Guy Debord - Marxist theorist coins term in 1955

    Situationist International

    wandering, urban space


        andy goldsworthy

             rivers and tides

    site-specific work


    field recording

    her long black hair - janet cardiff


  environmentalist sound projects


week 6 - Call for proposal/initial Questions

Set out your intentions and goals:

- goals for the project by week 14

    Produce an immersive aural experience that takes a site specific setting to deepen and change the way that visitors feel about the space (its history or geographical context) and how they behave within the space (in groups vs alone, thoughtfully vs absurdly, can this be therapeutic to the individual, create empathy for the space and its cohabitants..).  


- goals for your process

    continue to pursue technology and ideas that challenge me, like incorporating bluetooth or the Juce audio platform, for example, or pursuing difficult lines of research such as untold histories and unknowable sounds. Look at the landscape of people making this now and what has come before so that the final piece has originality.  Distill academic thinking and theoretical approaches down into a final, easily grasped concept.  Input from the clouds, but output lives on the ground.


What are your opening questions/hypothesis?

    How can an understanding of psychogeography and site specific art making inform a project that seeks to use sound and environment to meaningfully change a user’s spatial/contextual awareness and behavior.


- what are some related projects

   Her Long Black Hair by Janet Cardiff


- identify methods of projects that share some aspect of your work

   Narrators.  Naturalistic Sound Design.  Low-tech technological experiences.  Seamless experiential entries and transitions.  Public space.  Iconic landmarks. 


Think of at least two analogies for your topic or project:

   Guided meditations, field guides, guidebooks, books on tape, treasure maps, easter egg hunts, blindfolds, sensory deprivation pools, anechoic chambers,


- provide images to create comparisons


Think of a couple of contexts/ calls your work might fit

    Design a sound installation that immerses visitors in the unseen historical context of a site.  “ “ in an empathetic experience.  “ “ in the feelings and memories of their own childhood.  Design a sound walk that confronts ideas of normalcy and urban design that visitors to metropolitan urban environments may take for granted.


- Make something out of junk, scrap, leftovers, friends, etc

   This collage combines a baby photo from Hawaii, a recent immigration artifact from a flight to Jamaica, and a color photo of a lit up Manhattan and Central Park (it's snaking pathways the focus here) that was given to me by the office of my summer job.  It is meant to be a simple transposition of some of the questions I want to engage with, such as physical space, urban landmarks, transience, naivete, growth, personalized adventure..




Responses from class, answer these for homework:

What do you want to know about the world?



Why do you want to know it?


How can art/design help you answer the question?


week 4 readings - Acoustic Ecology and Soundscapes

"Soundscape as a System and auditory Gestalt" by Sabine Breitsameter

The sound researcher and composer R. Murray Schaefer, in The Tuning of the World - 1977 , coins the terms soundscape and acoustic ecology.  

    soundscape - the sonic envelope which surrounds a listener.  includes all sounds, even small and distant ones.  creates a consciousness for often ignored sounds. " The sonic representation of living material and immaterial presents in a certain space or place.” - Breitsameter

        “To see the landscape with the ears.” - Schaefer

    acoustic ecology:  explores environment as a conceptual approach or mindset, allowing sound to be deeply considered.  reveals the sonic interdependencies between living things and their environments.

        e.g. - air pollution —> less sound bounces around through air, more encumbered —> quieter forest —> also kills some vegetation and forest life —> even quieter forest 

        oppositie example - noise pollution. e.g. loud spaces like bars, lead to hearing loss and strained vocal chords, and acoustic ecology thus considers all of these effects (communication difficulties, physical damage, loss of sonic diversity)

       Schaefer argues that urban noise pollution is a harmful waste product, in particular is characterized by the values of industrial life and technology - air conditioner hums + construction + non-stop motors = efficiency, mobility and consumption.

    thus acoustic ecology becomes a political consideration.

        “Soundscapes provide information on an environment’s natural and social consistency, and allow to draw inferences about its priorities, deficits, and power structures.” - Schaefer

       opponents of Schaefer’s attitudes on urban noise counter that his ideas are overly romantic, technophobic and aesthetically normative.

soundscape is a plurality.  a conversation.  its diverse elements exert influence on each other.

acoustic ecology draws listener, sound, and environment together.  

     Schaefer finds that the historical development of soundscapes favor the visual, and societal conditions heavily impact our sensory perception. He believes ugly and tedious sounds gain ground over the beautiful and stress-free which lead to more general well-being and health.   Thus we collectively develop the sense over time that the auditory senses are ‘background’ and it becomes harder for us to develop sensitivities in this regard towards life/media/art

Malcolm McLuhan

    The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962)

        The medium is the message, and is a field.  The field’s elements effect each other, and so it is an open system that transforms and adapts and incorporates everything.

       the mosaic approach - attention to all sounds at once.  “Instant total awareness.”

        mosaic approach is prerequisite for enabling an ear-centered approach to perception.

gestalt - an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

       before the term soundscape was popularized..

       -->         !!! "The ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships.” -McLuhan  !!!

                    -thus listening becomes a formative activity, requiring the listener to endeavor to alternate between methodologies - analytic and selective, synthesizing and integral.

               similar to the approach you take when listening to polyphonic music too.

one of McLuhan’s big idea was we need to understand media as an environment.

and a specific idea of his from Narcrissus Narcosis - denial of the audile tactile by a society that has become addicted to images and despises that which is audible.

        we’re nullifying, dumbing, blunting, our ability to hear.  

week 3 readings

very well written and considered, and gives a very strong example of how systems have inherent bias by looking at 8 different systems thinking perspectives view the debate around GMO wheat and the research trials at Rothamsted.

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Containing and Overlapping Systems

Contain - flora, fauna, agriculture, GMO research, weather.

Overlapping - Food distribution and production, education, waste management.

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Symphony of the Soil documentary  -  Sooo good.  Totally cracked open the way that I understand the ground and disregard it's complexity and age.  The scenes in Hawaii were particularly fascinating -  looking at how soil of different ages on top of old lava flow.  Very happy to have seen this - again thanks Marina!

symphony of the soil film cover.jpg


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3 Articles with citations

Starting from a place of self-interest seems appropriate.  Since I garden in my backyard here in Brooklyn, I often overlook the potential soil contaminants and lack of healthy biology in the soil that grows my veggies.  

Relationship between soil heavy metal contamination and soil food web health in vacant lots slated for urban agriculture in two post-industrial cities.  by Kuhuk Sharma, Zhiqiang Cheng and Parwinder S. Grewal


One of the big issues that the amazing documentary - thanks Marina! - brought to light was the history of over-tilling and over-fertilizing land used for agriculture.  The film states that 1/3 of the world's arable land has been destroyed over human history due to this erosion and poisoning. 

Ecosystem services of the soil food web after long-term application of agricultural management practices.  by Xiaoke Zhang, Howard Ferris, Jeffrey Mitchell, and Wenju Liang.


How much does multi-channel feeding and increased biodiversity have to do with the health of a soil food web.

Reticulated channels in soil food webs. by E.M. Wolkovich.

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Brooke Singer


Dr Elaine Ingham


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Pursuing the audio angle in this research

David Dunn - interesting research into the sounds of natural phenomena like light, and how our brains interpret it.  So wonderful too that all of the experts so far in this line of research have revealed on video to be such lovely humans.  This guy included.



Overlooking Underground

In the first week of research into the Soil Food Web, I wanted to respond in a way that was impulsive and which transposed the scientific knowledge into a introduction in a new medium.  I wanted to ask some creative questions about life underground, see how they felt written out, spoken, sound designed.  

What does underground sound like?   I found a BBC recording of an earthworm, centipede, and snail being recorded inside an anechoic chamber.  Some other recordings of earthworms making soil helped to give a sense of what the process of making earth sounds like.

I also wanted to respond to the readings, which featured ideas about the nature of critical design as a way to ask new questions, and understanding the idea of audience.  It seemed to tie in nicely with my topic of research, that processes (e.g. photosynthesis) and a variety of organisms, bacteria and creatures that make up the foundations of natural life are witness to humans much more so than the other way around.  We walk on top of and within these elements without awareness.  

Week 1 - Readings

Dunne and Raby - Critical Design

Interesting to consider the speculative work of these designers in the context of beginning to research a topic that I've never previously considered - the Soil Food Web.  The strangeness of their moving landscape in which travelers would live out their entire lives is almost as strange an idea as the reality that an animal kingdom of tiny creatures plays out the theater of an underground ecosystem.  Wild ideas spark imagination.

Taking Art Seriously: Understanding Studio Research

"At a panoramic level it is not too extravagant to claim that it is the visual which shapes our experience of the world" - Bernard Hoffert

   - "You are what you look at." Dan O'Sullivan, in Rest of You

Research in art takes on the same fundamental goal as in any other discipline..."research results in new knowledge and the final test of new knowledge is what it contributes to the human condition.

Comparing the advancements in medicine, science and technology to the cultural benefits that new art (as a result of art research) does seem related but not analogous.  The latter rests on much more subjectivity.  

Also I must include this opinion piece from this weekend's NYTimes alongside his example of the implied purity and objective net benefit of the formation of Yosemite Natl Park.

Art knowledge - music example - Russolo's Noise Machines, his intonarumori (here in action in contemporary art music ensemble discussing and performing his piece The Art of Noise)


The Menaced Assassin - Rene Magritte


"..the challenge becomes to establish the academic infrastructure and a research methodology through which art can be undertaken as research in university degrees; to allow practice based research the same recognition and status accorded other research."  

     - What we're moving towards in this class.


Publics and Counterpublics - Michael warner

Nature of a/the public

Vague vs distinct.  Anyone in a society, anyone who may ever read a particular text, or anyone inside a stadium at an event


Type 1 - the social totality

Type 2 - concrete audience event based

Type 3 - assembled out of shared experience but nondependent on time (readers of a text)


Autotelic - (of an activity or a creative work) having an end or purpose in itself.


1. “A public is self-organized.”

A public is a conversation, and forms solely because people want to take part in that conversation.

“It exists by virtue of being addressed.”

Because there’s a circular logic here - can a public exists if no one hears you speak? - this def of public “is as notional as it is empirical.”

Publics can of course be partial in their fraction of a total population.

“(The public, different from the total a public) is self-creating and self-organized, and herein lies its power, as well as its elusive strangeness.”


Efficacious - (typically of something inanimate or abstract) successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective.


Powerlessness and questions of free will haunt citizens in modern capitalist societies because of our humanist liberal ideologies.  We navigate worlds of corporate interests, and so organizing ourselves based on shared interest in conversation and values is incredibly encouraging and meaningful, even if shared belief in faith and group-making/world-making (aka self organized publics) “we would be nothing but citizens of capital (which of course we might be, and some more than others).”


This must be why in modern societies where the lack of a freedom to assemble must be one of the most spirit crushing conditions of all.


“Any distortion or blockage in access to a public can be so grave, leading people to feel powerless and frustrated. “

  • Voting is external framework imposed on a public, and a poor substitute for notions of free will.  A la Clay, voting individualizes the illusion of power, and for many their votes are meaningfully irrelevant as they are residents but not members of a selectorate.


Merely paying attention to a discourse equals membership in a public, and we can be members of many different publics, thus it is very hard for social scientitsts and pollsters to sutudy these groups.  How do we quantify a public?

  • Polling - most powerful example of escaping the circularity of publics, and extricating data from a public.

“An elaborate apparatus designed to characterize a pubic as social fact independent of any discursive circulation.”


In fact though when you add up all these data points it does not equal a public opinion because it has none of the flexibility or reflexive framing of a public discourse.  “It lacks the embodied creativity and world-making of publicness.”  You have to analyze a public within the context and form that it takes, and polling attempts to quantify/sample that quality outside of those forms.  “Publics do not exist apart from the discourse that addresses them.”


“Publics exist by nature of their address.”


2. “A public is a relation among strangers.”


A public is made up of strangers, but strangers in a within a public have commonality of origin, belief, etc.  These form the basis of tribalism, one of our most innate and treasured characteristics.  


Gesellschaft - social relations based on impersonal ties, as duty to a society or organization.


3. “The address of public speech is both personal and impersonal.”


Louis Althusser’s notion of interpellation - communist philosopher whose theory that states are made up of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs, e.g. private institutions like church, family) and Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs, e.g. public institutions like military, police).  The two are fundamental to continually reproduce the dominant ideology in a society.  Interpellation is when ideology, embodied in major social and political institutions (ISAs and RSAs), constitutes the very nature of individual subjects' identities through the process of "hailing" them in social interactions.

As in the example of the cop that yells ‘hey you!’ at you , and when you turn around to acknowledge the hail you have turned yourself into a subject.


4. “A public is constituted through mere attention.”

The only condition of entry into a public is to pay attention, in whatever amount.

Even if you went to a performance and slept through the entire thing you’d still be a part fo that public, because  you elected to be there and not somewhere else.

Thus the existence of a public is contingent on the activity of the public’s members.

Like a church is dependent on the active uptake of it’s message through upkeep and strengthening of faith and of conversion fo new members.


Appellation - a name or title. Or, the action of giving a name to a person or thing.


5. “A public is the social space created by the reflexive circulation of discourse.”


Concatenate - link (things) together in a chain or series.


Alone, a text cannot create a public, but if that text is in response to a previously understood or known ideology then it can address a public.  There is a social element here of ideas in conversation with one another, a “context of interaction.”


Dialogic - relating to or in the form of dialogue.


Polemic - a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.


Warner discusses here the history of polemicists ability to reach audiences or affect publics, ostensibly because they are good at turning up the volume on their argument.  **I wonder if there would be an interesting line of research into the history of quiet ideas that have effectively reached publics and gone viral.**


6. “Publics act historically according to the temporality of their circulation.”

Populations cannot look too far into the past when they converse with historical ideas. An example of politics - “In modernity, politics takes much of its character from the temporality of the headline, not the archive.”


Thus, texts that have publics are inherently intertextual and intergeneric, because they must continue to receive attention and circulate through time.  There must be some significant measurement of an idea or document’s temporality.


This is why webpages may fundamentally disrupt publics, because it is difficult to time stamp their creation.  Unlike books or journals or newspapers, the internet exists in a vague and sprawling temporality.

“If the change of infrastructure continues at this pace, and if modes of apprehension change accordingly, the absence of punctual rhythms may make it very difficult to connect localized acts of reading to the mosdes of agency in the social imaginary of modernity.

**When rhythms land where we expect them we locate ourselves within time, space, context.**

At some point, Warner argues, we may have to lose the notion of ‘circulation’ entirely if media becomes so overwhelmingly consumed via the rhythmless web.


7. “A public is poetic world making.”

Indefinite address, self-organized discourse - this is risky territory.  “Abandons the security of the positive, given audience.”
But in this way is becomes the engine for recharacterizations of ideas and social mutation.

In other words, “public discourse is poetic.”


Mise en scene - the arrangement of scenery and stage properties in a play.  Or, the setting or surroundings of an event or action.


Interlocution - the interchange of speech.  An interruptive utterance.


Lexicon - the vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge.


Idiom - a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light ). Or, a characteristic mode of expression in music or art.  "they were both working in a neo-impressionist idiom"


In this world making poetic way, a public is in search of itself.  A text is inherently saying ‘let’s have a public that responds and pays attention to this, uses this lexicon, has this character’ and then you run it up and the flagpole and see who salutes.  Throw a show, see who comes.


"What if.. Crafting Design Speculations" keynote talk by Anthony Dunne at Interaction Design Association