Experimental Sonic Art in Flash


This blog has been set up as a space for exploration, discussion and reporting progress on my MA project, involving finding new, exciting ways of using sound on the Web.

The Sonic Map of Battersea Park is a Web based piece of audio art, created in search for new and innovative ways of using audio on the Web. It integrates the technology of Flash and a notion of soundscape navigable in a Web browser. It aims to transport an Internet user to the London park to experience its complexity, cosmopolitanism, vibrancy and sense of enjoyment, using sound clips and minimal graphics. It also challenges the user to explore new ways of navigating a web space, by using a sense of hearing instead of vision.


In order to make exploring of the piece more enjoyable, the user needs to verify the following:
1. The speakers must be turned on and the volume turned up
2. Headphones should be used for better three-dimensional experience
3. The piece is mostly navigated with arrow keys, not the mouse (see Instructions)
4. Flash plug-in version 8 or higher needs to be installed


Use the UP and DOWN arrow to move the “Walker” forward. Use the LEFT and RIGHT arrows to turn the “Walker” around to discover the different sound sources in the park as in three-dimensional space.

Hollow dots contain multiple clips which are activated when re-visited.

Click within the screen if the arrow keys do not move the Walker.

More info

A Sonic Map of Battersea Park‘s purpose is to explore the idea of a web version of virtual soundscape  which is based on the open space of Battersea Park in South West London.

Several sonic areas have been specified (by use of x and y coordinates on the screen), which are activated when the Walker approaches them. The sounds which are attached to the hotspots fade in and out depending on the Walker’s distance. Additionally, the stereo-pan of the sound is continually adjusted depending on the direction that the Walker is facing relative to the location of the hotspot.

All the sounds used in this prototype are real sounds which I recorded in Battersea Park using professional recording equipment. I then edited the sounds, cutting them into short audio loops, before compressing them and attaching them to the relevant sound hotspots.

I decided to abandon the graphical representation of the map on the first visit, giving a user an experience of  “a walk in the park with eyes closed”.   I wanted to explore users’ response to removing most of the visual feedback. Will it aggravate the user or intrigue him or her to explore the interface further?

In the end, users can chose to “open eyes” by clicking on a button and to reveal a simple graphic representation of Battersea Park map. I used simple shapes to represent the visited areas, which appear only when the Walker is within a specified distance.

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7 Responses to “The Sonic Map of Battersea Park”

  1. Hi,

    I really liked this (I found it through Networked Music Review) I am really interested in sound mapping spaces, I liked the way you have given the option to operate purely from sound or use a map as well.

    I have done some similar work (see here: http://www.sonicslice.org/Sonic%20Slice%20Internet.exe for a director exe for windows) using Oxford as my basis, my programming is much more basic, and my approach to mapping was to make the user ‘blind’ by creating a minimalist map with little or no indication of the space it mapped. I also tried to create a sense of space by indicating the time the recording was from, ensuring hopefully making the listener more aware of the it took place in space based on the time took place.

    I also did an installation of the work as part of my MA.

    I’m currently working on mapping the golden mile in Southend (my current home) but I’m not yt decided on a presentation method.


    Doug Rouxel

  2. [...] Altre info su questa realizzazione di Gaya Gajewska [...]

    MG Blog » Sonic Map of Battersea Park

  3. Hi Mariola,

    I found very interesting your work and research, and it gives me elements that help in the implementation of my completed PhD artistic work: “An Interactive Sonic Environment: London Underground”. Particularly in your satisfaction of working with Flash. I have worked in Director and I am still thinking if I should move everything to flash. I think you might be interested in looking at that. My focus is on feelings of people towards their soundscape: Listening and remembering:

    and here my postdoc:


    Please let me know your thoughts, great to be in touch.



  4. I find your project fun! I did something similar at:

    The idea on mine was to listen to sounds in different parts of the park and then be able to identify each section of the park by the sounds you hear.

    Dave Scott

  5. Molto interessante la vostra mappatura sonora. Al riguardo volevo sapere che programma è stato utilizzato per realizzare l’esperimento (visibile nella pagina http://www.speakerson.net/project/start.html) perchè dovrei svolgere una tesi di laurea in architettura e mi piacerebbe studidiare lo spazio da progettare sotto questo punto di vista. Vi sarei molto grata se potete darmi dei suggerimenti al riguardo.


  6. Hi, the project is great, im founder of http://www.archivosonoro.org and put audios for promotion of the importance about soundscape.

    maybe could you share the sources of project (GPL or another open like Creative Commons license) and let to others with different context put your own sounds and spaces.

    In other hand, i think, could you put other option on the top menu, for example “Total Blind”, and there disappear the white points, that increase the experience at first time.


  7. Many thanks to all the comments, aplogies for long silence, I was busy writing my dissertation but I am all done!!! (Woooohooooo!!!) To answer emilio question I would not mind releasing the code under Creative Commons licence or similar but how do I go about it?…


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