The Curious Listener
The Curious Listener is a system which automatically monitors the audio activity in an area and records anything interesting!
When it has recorded something (speech, music, unusual noises etc.), it uploads the digital sound file to a remote server and stores information about the recording, such as when it was made and what sort of sound activity it contains.
Eventually it is envisaged that it will attempt to further analyse recordings based on their formant signature, the patterns of unique sonic resonances present in an individual's speech - from which the system would attempt to identify the who was speaking. Over time a centralised catalogue of sound recordings will be built up, each tagged with its recording date and time and with a guess about who is speaking...
A separate component of the system, the player client, is currently installed in the foyer of the IOCT. This version is not intended to access the sound library in a documentary manner, but deliberately plays a mix of overlapping short extracts from sounds recorded within a particular time-frame. The listener thus gains an impression of previous activity and debate that took place in the IOCT through the continuous stream of disconnected words and phrases without ever hearing complete strands of the discourse or debate. The fragments are tantalising and intriguing - hopefully enthusing the listener to go on and participate in the IOCT themselves!
Ian Willcock, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.
Email: ian [at] willcock.org