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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Faculty of Arts

Communication Studies

I want to be with you anywhere -- Mobile Sound and Performing Place

Guest Lecture
Nov 28/13

Date: Nov 28/13
Time: 12:00 - 13:00
Location: DAWB 3-103
Cost: Free

Jessica Thompson ( is a Canadian media artist whose practice investigates spatial and social conditions within urban environments through interactive artworks situated at the intersection of sound, performance, and mobile technologies. She is an Assistant Professor in Hybrid Practice at the University of Waterloo in both the Department of Fine Art and the Stratford Campus. She holds an MFA in Media Study from SUNY at Buffalo. Her work has shown in numerous festivals including, most recently, as part of Audible Edifices in the School of Creative Media at the University of Hong Kong. Her projects have appeared in publications such as Canadian Art, c Magazine, Acoustic Territories, and on many art and technology blogs. She has won numerous grants, awards, and fellowships including a 2012 Mid-Career Visual Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council. She is represented by p|m Gallery (

Sonic City is a mobile device that re-imagines the urban environment as an interface for musical expression. Developed in 2002 by Lalya Gaye, Ramia Mazé, Daniel Skoglund and Margot Jacobs at the Viktoria Institute in Göteborg, the piece consists of sensors and a software interface that enables users to *create a real-time personal soundscape of electronic music by walking through and interacting with urban environments* (Gaye et al, 2003).

Ten years later, as mobile devices continue to merge our physical selves with our virtual representations, sound still occupies itinerant territory, situating listeners between physical and cognitive spaces and facilitating exploration, engagement and interaction within public space. Through a discussion of Sonic City, related artworks, and other acoustic phenomena, Thompson will discuss some of the conditions that inform how sound can create new modes of performativity in urban environments, and how mobile technologies, whether through smartphones, soundtracks or sensors, can shift the parameters of spatial practice from the body's position within physical space to the liminal space articulated by the moving body.

Contact: Dr. Judith Nicholson
Phone: 519.884.0710 x 2260

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