virtuality and Janet Cardiff’s audio walks

Janet Cardiff makes audio walks that confuse notions of reality and space. She records audio tracks for specific walking paths and includes instructions for movement in the audio. The sound of the tracks is a mix of her voice and the environmental noise of the walked-through space. When participants (?) listen to the recordings over headphones, it becomes unclear what noises are coming from the real, inhabited space and which are coming from the recording.

This is a fascinating concept to me, especially in light of my research on recording technology and rituals of listening. Headphones and portable, personal, audio are usually used in a manner which removes a person from their actual inhabited space. Cardiff’s pieces play on this notion by merging real space and audial space. Her pieces make me think about virtuality and how technology allows us to blend the real and the recorded. I am fascinated by the liminal space which her audio walks occupy, somewhere between reality and virtuality.

here’s a link to her walks: http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/

-raina

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