Ecumenopolis

A global walk around the libraries of megalopolises

Ecumenopolis

Ecumenopolis map
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Geert Vermeire

Geert Vermeire

Creator of this project

Geert Vermeire is a curator, artist, poet with a focus on spatial writing, locative sound & performance and social practices, integrating collaborative processes, within an ecological framework.
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Ecumenopolis (from Greek: οἰκουμένη oecumene, meaning "world", and πόλις polis "city", thus "a city made of the whole world") is the hypothetical concept of a planet wide city. The word was invented in 1967 by the Greek city planner Constantinos Doxiadis to represent the idea that in the future urban areas and megalopolises would eventually fuse and there would be a single continuous worldwide city as a progression from the current urbanization, population growth, transport and human networks.

The pilot of the project focuses on Athens, São Paulo, London and Moscow, the latter three among the largest urban areas on the planet, with as well among the largest libraries of the world. Created with local sound artists in Sao Paulo, London, Moscow and Athens, we realized a sound mapping and sound walks in each of these cities, as an aural simultaneous global urban experience, inviting to listening in between their sounds and silences.

The project looks in to the silences of cities, and the sounds of libraries, by documenting and overlapping the silences of sounds of one city and its library on the the other. It questions and explores the differences and parallels of large cities through their sounds and silences, and creates a virtual Ecumenopolis, via augmented walks in the real soundscape of one city, blended with the soundscapes of the others.

The recorded sounds of one city are mapped and placed on locations of another city through a collective creation process with CGeomap, allowing as well to walk with your mobile device inside and around a library and hearing simultaneously the silences and sounds of other places.

The methodology of exploration - via workshops on location- and of the final aural experiences for the walkers was by dérives or drifts, not only literally looking for what is not there but in other cities, but as well, through a state of unintentional walking, discovering the hidden layers of the reality in the city around you, realities that only appear to a moving body walking inside of an urban landscape.

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The ongoing project is using CGeomap in its full potential, as a tool made for the simultaneous co-creation of media maps and media walks by various creators working on the same project at the same time, through a creative communication - on the same location, but as well in places far apart. CGeomap is a powerful and innovative open source instrument to connect on alternative ways and exploring innovative mobilities on the planet, supporting this project not only looking to the world as one global physical city, but also into the consequences of the digital Ecumenopolis, the online urban web of apparent migrations between people and spaces, that are paradoxically not in a physical movement.

CGeomap is not only connecting people and places with the Earth in our time of global crises, but creating journeys and movements that are beyond the physical, the circumstances but also the accidents of a virtual map that eventually becomes the reality that it is mapping, including itself, and an infinite mirror of new realities. These consequences were already anticipated in a tale of Lewis Caroll, about an Chinese emperor who produced and rolled out a one to one scale map of the world, covering the whole planet. It is the subversive and artistic objective of CGeomap and of this project to turn upside down this map, with collective locative and spatial writing on its reverse blank side, creating a layer of imagination and a third space, that is holding together the layers of the virtual and the real beneath, and devising them to one.

The ongoing project was developed for Sound Walk Sunday 2019, with collaborative simultaneous workshops in the cities involved and with recordings made in / around the City Library of Sao Paulo, the State Library of Moscow, the National Library of Athens and the British Library London.

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Sao Paulo

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Sound walk created in a collaborative process, coordinated by Geert Vermeire, in the frame of CGeomap online courses, at NuSom - Nucleus for Research in Sound - University Sao Paulo and at the Mario de Andrade Library Sao Paulo. Soundscapes created by Fabiana Quintana, Henrique Souza Lima, Yonara Dantas, Migue Antar, Gustavo Branco and Marina Mapurunga for Sound Walk September 2019.

Moscow

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Soundscapes created by Ekaterina Trubina, Lisa Sazonova, Maria Molokova - Sound Laboratory / State Conservatory Moscow, coordinated by Geert Vermeire, for Sound Walk September 2019.

London

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London soundscapes are recorded during 'Recording and listening in between sounds and silences, a walkshop in and around the British Library', by Edwin Hind, Christiana Kazakou, Michael Duggan and Cristina Kiminami, with Geert Vermeire and Andrew Stuck in frame of Sound Walk September 2019.

Athens

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A sound walk in Athens inside/around the National Library at Panepistimiou is available and was inaugurated in the frame of 48th Book Festival of Athens / Analogio Festival / Sound Walk September.- a second phase with local sound artists will start in September 2020.

This project is elaborating on Geert Vermeire's earlier artistic research about the topic, since 2015, in the course of collaborations to the international interdisciplinary project Ecumenopolis in Athens (metasitu:taf), at the Athens Science Festival / Arts and Science Exhibition, at the Faculty of Fine Arts - University of Lisbon, RITCS School of Arts Brussels and QO2-workspace for experimental contemporary music and sound art in Brussels.

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