Skip to main content

Listening Through Technology: An Interactive Sound Walk for a Suburb in Shenzhen

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Design, User Experience, and Usability (HCII 2023)

Abstract

“Take A Step” is a sound walk that consists of a web-based user interface that the audience opens up on their phone, and with which they control the sound design that they hear on their headphones as they walk through and around the historic “Dawan Shiju” site in the Pingshan suburb of Shenzhen. The sound walk was made by four undergraduate students from the SUSTech School of Design (Shenzhen) in close collaboration with the instructor and co-instructor and was publicly presented at the UABB Biennale in Shenzhen in 2022. With this paper, the authors, who are also the project leaders, analyze specific modalities of interaction with a socio-cultural site through the designing of a digital media experience. They describe this modality as listening through technology and show how it can raise the user’s awareness of the social, cultural, and mediatic specifics of the thematized site – not only on this given site, but in any other listening situation in the everyday as users may potentially carry the gained knowledge elsewhere. This paper puts forward the notion of technological listening as a complex modality happening in between reality and fiction, and in between the actual and the virtual. Listening to an environment through technology, the authors argue, is a method that accounts for the always multidimensional social, cultural, as well as sonic characteristics of a given site.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    “Perhaps soundwalking can be a step towards enhancing our chances of survival … Or can simply be fun” [6, p. 7].

  2. 2.

    Note that also Hildegard Westerkamp uses the term “fun” when relating to the practice of sound walking [6, p. 7].

  3. 3.

    “Dawan Shiju” is the literal transcription of the Chinese 大万世居, and it literally means “residence for thousands of generations”. There are several translations of the name. The curators of the UABB Biennale translated it as “Dawanshiju”; on site, in the now turned museum, it has been translated as “Wanshi Habitat”; yet on the local government website called “Shenzhen Archives”, it is called “Dawan Ancestral Residence”. For legibility and consistency, we decided to call it “Dawan Shiju” in this paper.

  4. 4.

    “Zhong Lihe (1915–60) is arguably Taiwan’s most important native writer of the early post-Japanese period. His position on the margins of Chinese culture was determined by his birth and first thirty years of life in Japanese Taiwan and, further, by his membership in the Hakka minority” [24, p. 155].

  5. 5.

    In 1845, the term “Hakka” for the first time showed up in an official report by the Hong Kong government. Before that, Hakka people have been called differently, for instance, Kih, ka, kea jin people, kheh, Hoklo, Hok-ha, Kheh-kia. Most of these terms were based on different pronunciations of the word “Hakka” [28].

  6. 6.

    “Since the seventeenth century, and particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Hakka people also emigrated to Taiwan, Malaysia, and other regions of Southeast Asia, and as far as South Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, the Caribbean, and North and South America” [26, pp. 4–5].

References

  1. Tang, Z.: Take a Step - Email Interview (2023)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Deng, H.: Take a Step - Email Interview (2023)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Lanson, K., Silva, A., Hjorth, L.: Mobile Media Art: An Introduction. In: The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media Art, Routledge (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bishop, C.: Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. (Verso Books, 2012)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Rafael, S., Santiago, E., Rebelo, F., Noriega, P., Vilar, E.: Bio-Centred interaction design: a new paradigm for human-system interaction. In: Soares, M.M., Rosenzweig, E., Marcus, A. (eds.) Design, User Experience, and Usability: Design Thinking and Practice in Contemporary and Emerging Technologies, pp. 69–79, Springer International Publishing (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05906-3_6

  6. Westerkamp, H.: Soundwalking. Sound Heritage III, (1974)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Lane, C., Carlyle, A.: Hildegard Westerkamp. Interviewed by Cathy Lane. In: In the Field: the Art of Field Recording, pp. 109–121 (Uniforbooks, 2014)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Schafer, R.M.: Ear Cleaning. Notes for an Experimental Music Course. (Berandol Music; sole selling agents: Associated Music Publishers, New York, 1969)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Bull, M.: The Audio-Visual iPod. In: The Sound Studies Reader (ed. Sterne, J.) (Routledge, 2012)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bull, M.: The world according to sound: investigating the world of walkman users. New Media Soc. 3, 179–197 (2001)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. SUSTech School of Design & Kvan, T. SUSTech School of Design. https://designschool.sustech.edu.cn/about (2023)

  12. Papastergiadis, N., Barikin, A., McQuire, S., Yue, A.: Ambient Screens and Transnational Public Spaces. Hong Kong University Press (2016)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Keeffe, L.O.: Reclaiming Public Space: Sound and Mobile Media Use by Teenagers (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Sayin, E., Krishna, A., Ardelet, C., Briand Decré, G., Goudey, A.: Sound and safe: the effect of ambient sound on the perceived safety of public spaces. Int. J. Res. Market. 32, 343–353 (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Eisenberg, A.I.: Islam, Sound and Space: Acoustemology and Muslim Citizenship on the Kenyan Coast (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  16. Sagesser, M.Z.: A digital archive of participatory location rhythm performances: listening as a way of attending to the pandemic. In: Agamennone, M., Palma, D., Sarno, G. (eds.) Sounds of the Pandemic: Accounts, Experiences, Perspectives in Times of COVID-19, Focal Press 92022)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Bolter, J. D. & Grusin, R. Remediation: Understanding New Media. (MIT Press, 1999)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Kromhout, M.J.: Hearing pastness and presence: the myth of perfect fidelity and the temporality of recorded sound. Sound Stud. 6, 29–44 (2020)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Eidsheim, N.S.: Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice. Duke University Press (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Sheng, Y.: Take a Step - Voice Interview (2023)

    Google Scholar 

  21. Hegarty, P.: Annihilating Noise. Bloomsbury Academic (2021)

    Google Scholar 

  22. Ouzounian, G.: Stereophonica: Sound and Space in Science, Technology, and the Arts. The MIT Press (2020)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Zhang, Y.: . Shenzhen Fengwu Zhi [Chuangtong Jianzhu Juan] (). (Haitian Publishing House (), 2016). Translated by the authors

    Google Scholar 

  24. McClellan, T.M.: Home and the Land: the ‘Native’ Fiction of Zhong Lihe (結) (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  25. Zhong, L.: (). Yuan Xiang Ren (). (Zhejiang Publishing United Group Digital Media (), 2013). Translated by the authors

    Google Scholar 

  26. Constable, N.: Introduction. What Does It Mean to Be Hakka? In: Guest People: Hakka Identity in China and Abroad (ed. Constable, N.) University of Washington Press (1996)

    Google Scholar 

  27. Shih, T.: () From the “Guest” to the Hakka (3–1): The Label and the Identity of Hakka in Taiwan (]). Global Hakka Studies () 3, (2014). Translated by the authors

    Google Scholar 

  28. Shih, T.: (). From the “Guest” to the Hakka (2): The Emergence, Transformation, and Spread of the Term Hakka on the Eastern Quangdong (Hakka‧). Global Hakka Studies () 2, (2014). Translated by the authors

    Google Scholar 

  29. Luo, X.: (). An Introduction to the Study of the Hakkas Studies in Its Ethnic, Historical, and Cultural Aspects (). (Shi-Shan Library, 1933). Translated by the authors

    Google Scholar 

  30. Tang, Z.: Follow-Up Email Interview (2023)

    Google Scholar 

  31. Deng, H.: Follow-Up Email Interview (2023)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We want to thank the four students who developed, realized, and presented the sound walk “Take a Step” at the UABB Biennale in Shenzhen in the fall and winter of 2022: Tang Zilu, Deng Hexin, Sheng Yue, and Li Xian. We are also grateful to the curatorial team of the Pingshan UABB Biennale of Shenzhen for inviting us and other SUSTech School of Design members to produce new work for their exhibition. Thanks to members of the SUSTech School of Design for supporting the research and production of the sound walks. Thanks to research assistant Qu Hanyu. Thanks to the residents in Pingshan who were willing to talk to us.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marcel Zaes Sagesser .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Sagesser, M.Z., Xu, B. (2023). Listening Through Technology: An Interactive Sound Walk for a Suburb in Shenzhen. In: Marcus, A., Rosenzweig, E., Soares, M.M. (eds) Design, User Experience, and Usability. HCII 2023. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 14031. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35696-4_17

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35696-4_17

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-35695-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-35696-4

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics