UrbanRemix is a collaborative and locative sound project. Our goal in developing UrbanRemix was to design a platform and series of public workshops that would enable participants to develop and express the acoustic identity of their communities, and enable users of the website to explore and experience the soundscapes of the city in a novel fashion.
The UrbanRemix platform consists of a mobile phone system and web interface for recording, browsing, and mixing audio. It allows users to document and explore the obvious, neglected, private or public, even secret sounds of the urban environment. Participants in the UrbanRemix workshops become active creators of shared soundscapes as they search the city for interesting sound cues. The collected sounds, voices, and noises provide the original tracks for musical remixes that reflect the specific nature and acoustic identity of the community.
The project draws upon long-standing aesthetic practices that bring real-world sounds into electronic works, such as musique concréte, acoustic ecology, and the chance approaches of John Cage, as well as practices in public art and relational aesthetics that structure new forms of engagement and collaboration between artists, designers and citizens. Its innovative contribution is in the combination of these aesthetic approaches with current technological trends in location-aware mobile applications and in digital performance and interactive art.
The project was conceived of and is directed by Jason Freeman, Michael Nitsche, and Carl Disalvo, who are professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia. It is made possible by the invaluable work of numerous students and designers, and supported in part by the Music Technology program, the Digital Media program, and the GVU center at Georgia Tech.
From 2009-2013, the UrbanRemix project mounted events in collaboration with the Atlanta Beltline "Art on the Beltline" project, the City Centered festival and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, the Atlanta Public Schools and Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, and the Times Square Arts Alliance in New York, among others. The UrbanRemix platform was retired in 2014.
The original UrbanRemix web site is no longer available, but if you click on the project tabs on the left side of this page, you can read more about each UrbanRemix project and access a full archive of sounds, images, and remixes associated with each project.
Akito Van Troyer
GVU Center at Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech Foundation
Freeman, J., DiSalvo, C., Nitsche, M., and Garrett, S. (2012). “Rediscovering the City with UrbanRemix,” in Leonardo, MIT Press, 45:5, pp. 478-479.
Freeman, J., DiSalvo, C., Nitsche, M., and Garrett, S. (2011). “Soundscape Composition and Field Recording as a Platform for Collaborative Creativity,” in Organised Sound, Cambridge University Press, 16:3, pp. 272-281.
DiSalvo, C., Freeman, J., and Nitsche, M. (2011). “Participatory art as inner city workshop: The UrbanRemix sound project,” in Proceedings of the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA 2011), Istanbul, Turkey.
Hardman, R. (2013, May 10). “Remixing Middletown,” on WNPR (Connecticut Public Radio).
Beals, S. (2013, May 9). “MiddletownRemix Festival Saturday Celebrates City’s Eclectic Arts Scene,” in The Hartford Courant.
(2012, August 31). “Middletown Gets Remixed,” on WNPR (Connecticut Public Radio).
Lewis, S. (2011, May 12). “Artists Mix Times Square Street Sounds into Music,” on WNYC (New York public radio).
Kirn, P. (2011, April 26). “Remixing Times Square, with Mobile Field Recordings,” on CreateDigitalMusic.com.