An interactive sonic environment derived from commuters' memories of the soundscape: a case study of the London Underground




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


Through interrelating the Acoustic Communication concepts of soundscape with contemporary collective memory studies, this research project explores the relationship between commuters and the London Underground (LU) soundscape in order to create an interactive sonic environment on the Internet. The methodology combines fieldwork and artistic work, focusing on commuters’ perceptions of time and space, and on their sonic memories, as elements through which to interpret the space. The objective of the fieldwork is to investigate commuters’ aural memories of the LU soundscape, including the feelings and sensations that it stimulates. The artistic objective is to facilitate the interaction between the soundscape and its users through an interface that allows a creative combination of sounds to assemble aural memories into a sound-driven multimedia experience.

Twenty-four commuters participated in the ethnographic study during the three phases of the research; they followed the researcher’s model, which combines the processes of listening and remembering. The researcher thus developed an interactive sonic environment where commuters can experience a non-linear virtual journey through the soundscape of LU, then apply this as a means of reflecting on the original commuting experience. The interactive nature of the process makes it possible for individual memories to be linked in a creative shared experience; it fosters the development of on-line sound-driven narratives.



soundscape, collective memory, London Underground, sonic art, ethnography, multimedia art, commuting experience, Internet based art



All rights reserved

Research Institute