Free “Walk With Me” App Allows Users to Experience Own Unique Walking Tour
A city’s streets are permeated with ghosts of lives that have been lived, music that has faded, histories that have drifted from memory and sorrows whose wounds never closed. Streets also have the vibrancy of the moment – small business owners working on a dream, fast talkers and smooth walkers, angry drivers and hungry diners.
CicLAvia, in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, has commissioned two visionary Dutch artists, Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos, to create an interactive soundscape composition that brings together the past and present of the San Fernando Valley in one unique app that will debut at the Metro Presents CicLAvia – The Valley event on March 22, 2015.
Strijbos and van Rijswijk have created a soundscape on their Walk With Me app (available for free on Apple IOS devices) by blending interviews, music, historic sound clips, natural sounds and “live noise” into an interactive walking art installation that reveals itself differently for each user. As people walk the CicLAvia route on Lankershim between the Metro NoHo station to Campo de Cahuenga and on Ventura Boulevard between the Metro Universal City station to Coldwater Canyon, they will hear an evolving soundscape unique to their CicLAvia experience.
An auditory journey through time and place occurs when using the Walk With Me app as users hear an elderly Valley resident talk about the area changes she’s seen in her lifetime, her words fading into jaunty banjo music, broken by a Hispanic business owner’s heartfelt descriptions of a long work day, drifting into classical violin strings that are jarred by the crackling sound of a 1930s radio interview with Amelia Earhart. Each step the user takes is underscored by the live street sounds around them coming through their iPhone microphone.
Inspired by the work of Los Angeles native and visionary John Cage, Dutch composers Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos enjoy relinquishing control of their compositions so that, the audience, is free to determine the “final” version of the piece.
The Walk With Me app uses GPS markers to shift between soundscapes as the user moves along the route. Though designed for the March 22 CicLAvia, the download will be available in perpetuity, creating what is likely the longest permanent public art piece in Los Angeles County.
Featured Walkscape contributors include LA River poet laureate Lewis MacAdams, Public Radio commentator Sandra Tsing Loh, journalist Edward Lifson, Professor David Sloan, LA historian Kevin Roderick, North Hollywood mavens Nancy and Lisa Bianconi, theatre owner Greg Laemmle, Mark Valdez, Florence Dorick, CicLAvia co-founder and Executive Director Aaron Paley, his mother Sylvia Paley, Thelma Chevez and Laura Chevez.
The app is only available on the Apple devices. Walk With Me is for pedestrian use only. Bicyclists and other faster moving participants are discouraged from using the app, as it is designed specifically as a pedestrian-speed experience.
Top image: Dutch sound artists Rob van Rijswijk and Jeroen Strijbos