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Innovation & Job News

Composer Michael Kiley channels public art through your mobile device in Rittenhouse Square

Michael Kiley, a local composer and sound installation artist, has seen far too many people moving through the city glued to their mobile devices. In response, Kiley (through his public music project The Mural and The Mint) has teamed up with South Philly web design firm P’unk Ave to develop an app that integrates a sense of place.
"I actually think [social media] separates us more," says Kiley. "I was interested in using technology in a way where you don't actually interface with your phone."

The Empty Air: A Rittenhouse Square Sound Walk
 debuting April 5 with an opening party at the Philadelphia Art Alliance -- is a GPS-enabled musical composition that shifts depending on your position within the park. Kiley developed the project using binaural microphones; they're tiny recording devices that fit inside your ear. He used the park's native sounds -- traffic, birds and chatter – as a backbone for the piece. The work was done in collaboration with Miner Street Studios in Fishtown.
The Empty Air received grants from The Independence Foundation, Philadelphia Cultural Aliance, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Composers Forum.

This is only the beginning for the project. The Mural and The Mint -- named as a homage to Philly and its signature public art tradtition -- will develop a series of sound walks to attract attention to the city's underserved spaces. Philly’s long-neglected waterfront is next.
"It’s kind of a tour," he says. "But unlike other tours in Philly, it's not didactic. My hope is that it changes the way you see a place you know really well."

Source: Michael Kiley, The Mural and The Mint
Writer: Dana Henry
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