London Fields looks set to be buzzing with headphones from 8th March, when the Hackney Hear smartphone app is launched. Residents and regulars should prepare for an influx of audiophiles, both seasoned and converted, once this innovative and inspired piece of mobile gadgetry becomes available for free download.
Part audio book, part radio documentary, part treasure hunt; but more silent disco than traditional walking tour. A wealth of audio archive, ambient music, performance poetry, oral histories and raw actuality of park-life, both past and present, is subtly woven together by Tri-sound technology. The content is GPS triggered, meaning the listener’s own route dictates the soundscape that envelops them as they move between lido and canal, from pub to playground.
Already shortlisted for the Radio Academy’s Tech Con Technical Innovation Award, the project has been developed by the team behind the Sony Award winning Hackney Podcast. Like the podcast, Hackney Hear has been created collaboratively, with local producers gathering audio whilst resident artists have been commissioned to write and perform original material. As founder Francesca Panetta says, “Hackney has the highest concentration of artists in the world,” and Hackney Hear is both a celebration and a reflection of that rich cultural backdrop, in a year when the Olympic borough will receive global attention.
The production team have chosen fertile ground on which to map out their first audio coordinates. London Fields and Broadway Market: hipster hang-out, gangland fault line, sometime film set; former squat haven, bomb site, plague pit. All this is there to be heard- whispered, sung, rapped, debated and honoured, punctuated by picnics, ping-pong, hula hoops and bike bells. Poet Shane Solanki, whose Lido Song features on the app, has dubbed Hackney Hear the borough’s “Library of the future.” It is at once timely and timeless; a resource, a toy and a tool that will reward repeated listenings by all who set foot in this storied patch of east London.
For more information or to download the app go to Hackney Hear./ 8 March, 2012