York University
2001 TEL
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON  M3J 1P3
416.736.2100 ext. 33616

Concordia University
Department of
Communication Studies
7141 Sherbrooke W.,
L-CJ 3.329
Montreal, QC  H4B 1R6
514.848.2424, ext. 2535



There to Hear: Placing Mobile Music


There to Hear is a research-creation project that investigates the act of listening to music on a mobile device while traveling around the city via public transportation.  Of central concern to this project are tensions and interactions between the mediated and the immediate, the imagined and the real, music and the soundscape, everyday life and art, and the senses. 


Primary Researcher/Artist: Samuel Thulin


This project approaches the question of mobile music with a focus on the ways that people who listen to music on mp3 players (or Discman's or Walkman's) while traveling around the city remain connected to the world outside their headphones though differently engaged with it as a result of their use of mobile music technology.  Interrelations between what’s being listened to and what’s going on in the listener’s surroundings are of key importance. 


In order to examine these issues, There to Hear presents a piece of music intended to be listened to while traveling around the city.  Created entirely through the manipulation of field-recordings of a specific public transit route in the city of Montreal, the resulting 42-minute musical composition comes into contact with its origins as participants listen to the piece on an mp3 player while traveling along the route from which the field-recordings were made. 


The route is comprised of 3 movements - walking, taking the bus, and taking the metro, which roughly correspond to three movements in the musical composition.  The sounds used to create each movement of the musical composition were recorded during the corresponding movement of the route.  However, as listeners travel along the route chance occurrences, such as a bus arriving 3 minutes earlier or later, result in an infinite variety of ways in which the music and the route combine.  The way that sounds from the listener’s environment mix with their manipulated counterparts in the listener’s headphones also means that a new meta-composition – a “music-route” – emerges each time the piece is listened to in context. 



There to Hear: Placing Mobile Music will be presented at OBORO gallery in Montreal from September 25th to October 28th, 2010.