Aural Fixation

Authors: Bronwyn Cumbo, Mads Hobye; Atelier leader: Chris Hand; Atelier coordinator: Hrvoje Živčić; Cast: Divya Viswanathan; Headphone design: Daria Casciani and Oleg Šuran.

Video (2:14), headphones

It is the age of the smart city. Digital data is collected, processed and utilised by the city’s systems.

Privacy amongst residents is maintained through the rare art of conversation. An analogue form of data that cannot be detected or processed by the smart city’s digital sensors. Friends and families share their personal thoughts within the closed walls of intimate spaces. Their own homes, friend’s lounge room, a favourite café. These thoughts, dreams, and aspirations for a better future are unheard by the smart city. The bricks and mortar of the city are the caretakers of these citizens. Watching over them as they meet to converse. Capturing the stories exchanged within its walls. Aural prints of words unheard.

A young voyeur lives in the city during these times. Each day and night she roams the streets peering into the windows of these intimate spaces to see how people live their lives, hoping to catch glimpses of the stories they might share. She senses that the city is full of lost and unheard aspirations. In a local flea market she buys an old military communication device and extends its listening capabilities to tune into the frequencies of aural prints. Wearing the device she is able to virtually travel to all corners of the city and eavesdrop on lost fragments embedded in its walls. She makes it her mission to collect these unheard hopes of the citizens.