Street Radio

Street Radio

Em post recente falava da recriação da história e do reforço a uma memória do lugar com o uso das mídias locativas, como o projeto sobre o muro de Berlim. No mesmo espírito, o projeto Street Radio, usa rádio FM, bluetooth, celular e redes sem fio criando uma estrutura de rede mesclada para que as pessoas possam ouvir história escondidades de Southampton. Vejam trechos do post do The Next Layer, “A new public wireless interface: Hivenetworks successfully launch ‘Street Radio’ in Southampton.”

“On Friday the 14th of March 2008 ten ‘street radio’ nodes went live in Southampton narrowcasting Hidden Histories — stories from Southamptons Oral History Archive selected and arranged to correspond with the location of the 10 nodes. Participants started to meet at around 11 am at the gallery cafe in Southampton’s Civic Centre. There they received maps of the Hidden Histories trail and those who needed them could borrow little FM radio receivers. Here you can get a digital version of the Hidden Histories map and here you get a Hidden Histories Guide

The underlying technology has been developed by Hivenetworks over the past 3, 4 years. The technologically creative mastermind behind the project is Alexei Blinov. For many years he has supported artists by finding technical solutions for their ideas. This time it was the other way round, as the basic concept behind Hive Networks is based on ideas and research carried out by Blinov, supported by a network of collaborators and friends. Blinov conceived the idea of a network that is not just a carrier of information but one that sees hears, smells, and which automatically adds new nodes and drops them if necessary, a hive of little devices which interact with each other and the public. (…) The concept of Hivenetworks was created by the artist-engineer Alexei Blinov with the proposition that it should enable media artists to create complex public art works without having to get into the deep end of technological development. Here you find an article about the deep history of HIvenetworks.

Hivebox on light pole in front of former Tyrell and Green building

On a tight budget and close deadline, we were very happy to be able to deliver. On 10 light poles in the centre of Southampton on Above Bar street weather proof little boxes have been mounted which contain repurposed commercially available hardware. The unique hard- software combination implemented by Hivenetworks is playing soundfiles in a loop on FM radio on 89.0 MHtz. The very low powered USB FM transmitters are said to have a range of about 10 to 15 meters. Thus, around each lighhtpole in a radius of 30 meters approximately you can hear one particular radio art piece created by me with excerpts from the Oral History Archive. The boxes also scan the surroundings for mobile phones with the bluetooth function on. Asking the carrier of the mobile phone to accept a message first, a short bluetooth text message is transmitted announcing the node, the frequency and its content. The Hiveware contained in the boxes also creates a mesh network based on the OLSR protocol. Currently we do not provide access point services, the mesh is only there for maintainance reasons. Via the net we can ‘see’ the boxes from London and check if they are working and upload new content.

Snapshot of the mesh network topology

(…) But technical functioning aside, the project also worked as a whole. I simple loved drifting from one node to the other, headphones on, radio in hand, listening in to one story and then, after a while, moving on to the next. There was a specific effect that we had hoped to happen but could not count on because at the end of the day this was the first time that something like this was done. We placed the nodes in such a distance that ideally the covered areas would overlap just a bit so that you could drift from one story to the next and even have an area where both nodes were audible. And this was exactly how it turned out. Between node 6 and 5 for instance, or node 7 and 9, you could walk away from one node, its signal slowly getting weaker, while the other soundbytes would start coming in, gently interfering but not wiping out the first signal, until you were close in reach and only listened to one node again. It would be very tempting for the future to use this effect to ask sound artists to create compositions for specific areas.

(…) The street radio set up deployed by Hivenetworks on the other hand uses technology which people already carry in their pocket. Most of the newer mobile phones have bluetooth and FM reception. Having headphones, even small ones, really improve the experience. But that’s it, oiff you go and listen to stories from Southampton’s maritime past while taking a walk through the city, smelling the air, seeing radio masts of ships in the distance, being ‘disturbed’ by some live seagulls. What struck me as particularly interesting is this overlapping of the visual sense with the profane ongoings of Southampton on a weekday morning and the audio sphere with the voices from the achive. It creates a new layer, a new public interface through which to experience the city. (…)”