Coextensive Ubiquity

Streaming urban soundscapes city with iPhones

Tools: iPhones, Icecast

Digital artist Félix-Antoine Morin contacted me at the end of 2017 to help him manage the technical side of his Coextensive Ubiquity project, which was at the time being presented in Valparaiso (Chile). The concept of this performance / installation is quite simple: 12 iPhones equipped with stereo microphones are scattered across a city, and stream back their sound environment to the composer’s laptop. These 12 soundscapes are then processed, mixed and transformed, with the results being presented to a concert audience, all in real-time. The project was further developed at the beginning of 2019 during the composer’s residency at Tokyo Arts and Space (Japan).

iPhones are scattered across a geographical area in order to provide different soundscapes. // Photo: Félix-Antoine Morin

From the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2019, I have provided technical consulting to help Félix-Antoine fully realize his artistic vision. Since the iPhones were often left on their own for hours, my main focus was to provide a solid, low-cost solution to ensure that each audio stream would be sent as reliably as possible, with the highest sound quality possible.  

Coextensive Ubiquity’s 12 iPhones // Photo: Félix-Antoine Morin

My tasks have included doing research, technological watches and buying suggestions, as well as managing and troubleshooting the iPhones used in the project. A key part of my job was also to prepare and test various technological solutions, setups and apps, and make recommendations according to the project’s constraints. Amongst other things, these analyses have prompted me to configure an Icecast server which is now at the heart of the project.

Visit the artist’s website for full details on Coextensive Ubiquity.