A GPS-triggered poetic contemporary symphony
Poet Ralph Hoyte, composer Marc Yeats and coder Phill Phelps have been awarded an Arts Council GftA (Grant for the Arts) to develop a GPS-triggered poetic contemporary symphony, THE FROME MAIDENS.
THE FROME MAIDENS, one of the first of a whole new generation of user-mediated mobile experiences, is a located soundscape set out in virtual space along the 18-mile ling course of the River Frome from her source near Old Sodbury to her confluence with the Avon in the centre of Bristol. The Frome is the reason Bristol is where she is today, the Saxon settlement having been built at the easily defedable confluence of the two rivers. When Bristol Castle was built, the Backditch, conencting the two where the Cabot Circus shopping complex now stands, completed the watery protective triangle.
Our aim in this scoping study is to create a unique word-music fusion and then place it in located virtual space , initially on sites alongside or connected to the Frome. Users will be able to download the content off the net onto their GPS-enabled device, then literally 'walk thru' the symphony in realtime. What is heard on their headphones is defined by users' own completely unique pathway through the virtual soundscape. Our content is thus used as source material and then 'remixed' according to how users negotiate the real-world space. We are also experimenting with a 'sharing mode' in which users' individual experiences are recorded by the device for subsequent sharing.
THE FROME MAIDENS is based on the conceit that if the Rhine can have Rhinemaidens, as created by Wagner for his Ring Cycle, then why shouldn't the Frome have Frome Maidens? Ralph has written a script based on this conceit and Marc has composed the music. All three of us are currently building the GPS-triggered 'scratch model' for testing purposes.
The project's timeline is calculated to tie in with platform developers' Calvium's adaptation of current mediascape technology for potential iPhone apps (expected later this year). We are also hoping to involve Interactive Media students from the University of the West of England (UWE). We are further looking to develop variations on the project for live performances, audio and audio-visual installations.