Sonic Traffic Light (Chile)

English / Español / Français
Valparaíso, Tsonami 2015

Affected by globalization, cities lose their sonic specificity. The urban soundscape turns homogeneous : with a low pitch  and continuous whisper of motors, traffic, machines…

On the other hand, new sounds appear in the cities, deliberately introduced in the public space.

This sounds construct a new sonic identity : subway closing door signals, tsunami alarms, audible pedestrian signals.

How can citizens make an impact on transforming the sounds that define their environment? During my residence in Valparaíso with Tsonami Festival, I worked alongside audible pedestrian signals users­ -blind and visually impaired people- to choose the sounds that could go along with the green light.

It was an exchange with sonic experience as a starting point: I taught them to record with my microphones and they taught me to listen  the city without seeing from his point of listening.
From this sessions, different proposals came out and each of the five members of the group came up with different proposals and made different sound recordings. The results were listened and shared with the group of the workshop of inclusive music: “La Casa de los Peces”.

Finally, together we chose different sounds for the intervention of an audible pedestrian signal.

The different sounds were emitted (synchronized with the green light) during the public intervention on November 28th 2015 in Errazuriz and Argentina Avenue (Valparaíso).
The sonic traffic light allow  low vision and sightless people to cross the streets safely, by emitting a sound when the green light is on. Valparaíso has only a few equipped traffic lights, reason why it is real complicated to move through the streets for people who cannot use their vision.

From our collaborative work, different proposals came up:
-To define together the semaphore sounds, for the sounds to be helpful without being annoying, and also to be representative from the city
-To use different sounds making the traffic light  a geographical reference point for the citizens
-During the night, to implement night sounds, lighter (like, for example, the cricket’s chirping sound), instead of putting in silence the semaphores.

During the action, we distributed flyers to sensibilise the transients.

Realized during Festival TSONAMI, 2015
Part of the Exhibition “INVISIBLE”, July-September 2016 at CENTEX (Valparaíso, Chile)

Download PDF of the project in Valparaiso (Spanish Version Only)
Press Article in “El Ciudadano”, Chile November 2015 (Spanish)

Flute – Andrés

Boat Horn – José

Chincol (Chilean Bird) – Mariela

Sea Waves – Sara

Juice Street Seller – Marthina

Crickets (for the night)

This project has been possible thanks to: Andres Barrera, Arnaud Potin, Bernarda Perla, Carolina Opazo, Cecilia Sanchez Nava, Constanza Molina, Cristina Hernanz, Damian Rivas, Eduardo Morales, Fernando Godoy, Francisco Fuenzalida, Gabriela Stela, Javiera Marín, José-Ignacio Cuadra Verdejo, José diaz, Karen Ramirez, Marcelo Xyz, Mariela Perez, Marthina Castro, Nelson Campo Ros, Nicky Gonzalez, Pablo Saavedra Arévalo, Ramon Rif, Sara Begonia Lara Schiappacasse, Sara Lana, Sofia Vicencio, Susana Jimenez Carmona, Valentina Verdejo.
Pictures by Nelson Campo Ros, Pablo Saavedra Arévalo, Félix Blume.