Ximena Alarcón-Díaz, PhD
Sonic Migrations Artist - Researcher
Interfaces for Relational Listening (INTIMAL), Deep Listening®, Telematic Sonic Performance
Sounding Underground 2007-2009
Sounding Underground is an online environment that invites you to interact with the soundscapes of three underground public transport systems: London, Paris and México City. Commuters’ memories and imaginations are represented in sounds and images that have been selected by volunteer commuters through an ethnographic process.
These sounds are assembled in a sound score that acts as a multimedia user’s interface. The score contains sonic features unique to each metro, as well as some shared sonic spaces. Sounding Underground also invites you to write memories, produced by listening. These memories are published randomly on the "Listening and Remembering" page.
This work brings to the surface the unique sonic features of the soundscapes from the metros of London, Paris and Mexico City, as well as the common ones, as they were listened to and selected by commuters from recordings of their routine journeys.
Funding and Collaborators
This work was funded by the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship 2007 -2009, as a research project called "Linking urban soundscapes via commuters' memories"
and supported by the Institute of Creative Technologies IOCT at De Montfort University. It had the support of institutions such as Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras - CMMAS, and Centro Multimedia, in the Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART), La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme - Paris Nord, and Plate-forme Technologique Arts Sciences. This work has been acknowledged by the metro companies: Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC) - Metro México, and RATP Paris Metro.
This work reveals not only political and social aspects of these cities, but also suggests symbolically that every journey becomes a metaphor of people’s inner lives.
To have a journey and read more about this work please visit http://soundingunderground.org.
To read about its development and outreach please visit http://soundingunderground.wordpress.com.
Publications, Exhibitions and Awards
Publications derived from this work include “Embodied Sonic Memories of Commuting Underground,” (2020) in IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, “Memorias sonoras que acumula el cuerpo al viajar por debajo de la tierra” (2018) en Resonancias: Revista de Investigación Musical, "Bajo la tierra: escucha porosa de modernidad en el metro de México" (2017) en Revista de Arte Sonoro y Cultura Aural, “Creating Sounding Underground” (2013) in Digital Creativity Journal, and “Sounding Underground: listening, performing and transforming the commuting experience” (2011) in Sensate Journal. Sounding Underground has been exhibited in art venues and academic events in the cities of Berlin, Boston (MA), Burgos, Edinburgh, London, Manizales, Mexico City, Morelia, Nantes and Towson (MD), and was awarded an honorary mention by the IAWM New Music 2011 Competition, International Alliance of Women in Music, for New Genre.