HEAR/HERE TO SEE – Algorithms of Westminster

HEAR/HERE TO SEE is an audio guided walk around the political heart of London through encounters with some of the algorithmic systems that impinge upon daily life. It is a project by Manu Luksch & Mukul Patel, commissioned for the City Songlines app for iphone.

To experience HEAR/HERE TO SEE, download City Songlines on the App Store and launch the app at the route’s start point on Parliament Square.

The commentary during the walk is from a teenager’s perspective and structured as a series of anecdotes, provocations and humorous meditations. The narration is triggered by GPS location and augmented by aural cues. The concept of an algorithm is first explained using the example of the church bells of Westminster Abbey – there is a distinct art of bell ringing (‘ringing the changes’) in the UK in which different permutations of a set of tuned bells are sounded according to algorithms called ‘methods’. After being reminded about the algorithms used for traffic control, the user is led past the Supreme Court (and introduced to the idea of algorithmic decision making in courtrooms), CCTV installations that deploy facial identification, government departments that vet visa applications algorithmically, and the offices of an agency that intercepts and decrypts communications.

The audio guide is freely* available on AppleStore (search for the ‘City Songlines’ app).
* no data collected through this app
Prerequisites: fully charged iphone and earphones

Download HEAR/HERE TO SEE booklet [pdf]



Credits: HEAR/HERE TO SEE is a project by Manu Luksch & Mukul Patel

Featuring the voices of Robyn Anika Buus Phillipps, Elektra Chandranandini Luksch, Indigo Luksch, Jemimah May, Mathilda May, Liesel May

Commissioned for CITY SONGLINES, a project (app) created and curated by GRAD London from an original idea by Katya Sivers
Project Manager   Timothy Maxymenko
iOS Developer   Ilia Batii (baitcode)
Supported by the Bundesministerium für Kunst, Kultur, öffentlichen Dienst und Sport (Austria) and Arts Council England.
Research for this art piece was supported in part by the Open Society Foundations. The opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and do not necessarily express the views of the Open Society Foundations.



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