In Hear, Out There: Madrid

Locative media sound walk with mobile visual element. Original proposal selected by MediaLab-Prado for creation within the workshop/conference, Madrid, March 3-14 2008. Upon completion, work was exhibited within MediaLab, 26 March – 18 May 2008.

Primarily, work created in collaboration with Maria Priesto and Andrew Henley. However, within the workshop the following ‘floating’ contributors also assisted:  Artur Vidal, Horacio González, Luis Ayuso and Carlos Panero Zurbriggen. For more info on the workshop see Medialab-Prado’s site:

Work awarded “Second prize” in the international new media art competition “Culturas 2008” within the category of “Coordinates: states of change”. For more details see

In Hear, Out There: Madrid comprised of a mobile sound walk that was layered onto the site of AZCA, Madrid. The site was also the subject of the work; in particular the site’s unfulfilled plans were explored.

AZCA was built upon the cusp of a large residential district and was expected to serve this community as well as accommodate large-scale financial/commercial business. As a business centre, AZCA has prospered; the enterprises that first moved into the site have remained and grown. However, AZCA has been rather less effective as a community hub: outside of the commuter hours the site is desolate, the park is under used and the enclosed retail services are poorly stocked and poorly attended. Furthermore, the underground premises are mostly derelict and those that are not have become notorious crime hotspots, frequented at night by local gangs.

In Hear, Out there: Madrid provided an image of what could have been an altogether different AZCA, one in which both commuters and local residents would have been accommodated more equally within a welcoming, lively and safe environment. This was achieved through reference to the original plans for AZCA in which space and funds had been allotted for an opera house, library and botanic gardens. These three amenities although commissioned were never built as the money to do so was later revoked, their designs replaced with what is in situ today.

In Hear, Out There: Madrid instilled a sense of the three missing amenities into AZCA by situating within AZCA the soundscape of three of Madrid’s most emblematic facilities: the Teatro Real, the Real Jardín Botánico and the Biblioteca Nacional each of which are thriving, well attended centres of recreation. In Hear, Out There: Madrid brought to AZCA not only an image of three successful spaces but also an image of the public who frequent them, giving to AZCA an exuberance that was absent prior to this act.

Credit for following photos: Maria Priesto.