It was great to attend the MCN in Pittsburgh and unveil the very first Listening Lounge for the MCN conference experience. Christine Murray from Antenna International and I gathered sounds from the storytelling community: including podcasts, a variety of audio tour stops, stories from the MCN 50th birthday celebration, a handful of musical pieces and a global selection of ambient nature sounds and urban soundscapes.
We set up 4 tables in a darkly lit room festooned with christmas lights - each table had 6 headphones listening to a different playlist at each table. And then the MCN attendees started coming. MCN participants curious about what we were up to in that unusual dark space became enchanted with the sounds as they put special “Listening Masks” over their eyes and settled in to listen.
We had a steady flow of visitors all afternoon long, one of whom stayed for almost 1 and half hours! Some stayed for one or two tracks. Most tried each varied playlist at all the tables. We were thrilled! And everyone seemed to really enjoy the break from the usual conference buzz and hum in a place they could just relax, refresh, reboot, and then reenter the conference activity.
Then something unexpected happened. We reached the end of the 4 hour afternoon session and while discussing how everything went with Robert Weisberg, Conference Program Committee Co-chair and organizer of the MCNergy session , we talked about how we could continue to share sounds throughout the rest of the 4 day conference. We talked about doing pop-up listening experiences in rooms that would be available between sessions. As we talked about this, my eyes wandered over to the luggage cart that I had used to transport the massive amount of headphones and other gear to the Listening Lounge. I had one of those AHA! moments and I looked at Robert and said, “I have just the thing to help bring the pop up Listening experience to conference goers everywhere! The Listening Luggage Cart!” And thus the first "Earprint Mobile Listening Cart" was born.
I set it up first thing the next day and Ed Rodley found it while grooming the room for the Green Room session.
He tweeted the following:
I went back to the room and found him eyeing the Listening Luggage Rack with curiosity and then he asked if he could get in the chair and listen. I obliged, of course, and then Liz Neely, co-presenter of the Green Room, took him a for a little ride on the cart while Ed listened to one of the most astonishing recordings in the playlist: Douq Quin's recording of Wedell Seals under the Antarctic Sea Ice.
Check out the video of this inauguration journey on the first ever Earmersive™ Mobile Listening Cart!
Most conference attendees who listened to sounds at the Earmersive Cart did not get the mobile experience, but it was indeed an appropriate way to christen the cart! Here's a variety of people at the conference enjoying listening at random sites and seats throughout the conference.
This was just beginning of Earmersive Listening Lounge and Listening Cart experiences brought to you by Earprint Immersive, Inc. + Antenna International. Stay tuned as we prepare for Museums and the Web in Vancouver in April 2018!