The Lost Art of Listening is a major research, development and composition project in which I am investigating how people experience and value music in an age of 24-hour connectedness and distraction. The research forms a starting point of a new 60min work for prepared piano and audience-played smartphone choir, partly inspired by an article by Anna Goldsworthy of the same name in which she questions ‘Has classical music become irrelevant?’ I have also been questioning how humanity’s increasing reliance on connected technology has affected the relationship between performer and audience, our distraction and attention, our passive and/or active involvement and our sense of occupation/dislocation.
As a part of this project I am developing a new app called U N i T E.
U N i T E is a new smartphone choir app bringing together artists and audiences by inviting audiences to meaningfully contribute via their smartphone to the sonic whole in performance and installations.
About U N i T E –
U N i T E is an app that allows artists to upload sound files to an online platform, which can then be accessed by an audience at a later stage. Artists can make various choices about how their tracks are played back (a synchronized or an audience-initiated/random start) or about what will be displayed on the audience’s smartphone screen (text/colours etc.) during the playback of the track.
Once downloaded onto the audience’s phone, the app can then be used by the audience to play the audio tracks associated to that particular project, thus forming a ‘choir’ to accompany the live performance or installation.
The app is in development and due for release in October 2017.
As a musician, composer and creator I have found a need for this app such as this in my work. It is my hope that U N i T E will be embraced by artists from various artforms and will be used in a wide variety of performance experiences to expand on the ways that performers and audiences can communicate.