Cambridge Arts Council, Cambridge, MA

augmenting the public art of Cambridge, MA

September - December, 2012


ROUND:Cambridge is a site-specific participatory sound art installation that explores the public art collection in Cambridge, MA through music and evolving participant commentary. The installation 'inhabits' the entire city of Cambridge by creating a location-sensitive layer of audio consisting of a musical composition along with commentary recorded in-situ by participants. Using a custom smartphone app, participants are able to tag any location in the city with their own recordings about the public art (or anything else!) and those recordings are immediately available for other participants to hear within the context of the piece when in the same location. Each participant experiences a continuous, unique, real-time audio stream as they walk, weaving location-specific voice content in with a location-aware instrumental composition.

ROUND:Cambridge is a new piece of public art, commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council, that not only exists in the public domain like the sculptures, murals and other public art in Cambridge, but also is created from the raw material of thoughts, ideas and commentary collected from the public in an actively inclusive way. By allowing people to leave their mark or tag on the landscape in a non-destructive way, Cambridge is transformed into a collective audio work.

This project was in "soft-release" mode collecting seed commentary since mid-2011 and officially opened in the fall of 2012 with an accompanying gallery exhibition at the CAC gallery.

Many of the voices now populating the landscape were recorded by the Public Art Youth Council which is a program of the Cambridge Arts Council and the City of Cambridge Mayor's Office. Two fearless groups of teens spent 6 weeks during the summers of 2011 and 2012 exploring the public art in Cambridge and talking about it with each other. Thanks to all of them for the great material to get things going.

Audio Sample


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