Considering literature as a discipline within the realm of contemporary art, ‘Weeds as Noise’ is a cartographical sound walk through the city of Liège. The project is constituted by the map of the city, then categorized by a grid placed on top of the map, consequently dividing the city into several parts. Every part in the grid is allocated a piece of existing literature that speaks about weeds, and that serves as a starting point for a soundscape or audio piece on this location.
The research for ‘Weeds as Noise’ is organized around the idea of weeds as noise, and considers the many points of perspective that are inherent in this thematic. From looking at weeds to draw attention to the overlooked and forgotten, to weeds as a metaphor for resistance or guerrilla. Manifesting itself in public space, weeds break through the intimacy of the garden. Weeds concern everyone and thus enforce an active positioning towards it.
‘Noise’1 is the collective name of all the sounds that are unwanted or undesired, it is something that hinders (noise on the line). Paradoxically, noise is the effect and the facilitator of an economy, a society. Traffic, communication, industry, agriculture, entertainment, information technology, advertising and propaganda cause noise and they do not exist without noise. The analogy with weeds is remarkable here; though considered to be unwanted, weeds provide biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. The growth of these, take over the regulated public space, as our project ‘claims’ the public space by adding a ‘layer’ of stories and sounds over existing sites. Especially because of this narrative layer, a meticulous bond with the given spots will be pursued.
Concretely, the visitors/listeners will be able to download an app that features a map of the city and showcases the grid placed on top of it. With this app they will be able to walk a route through the city. When crossing the border of a part in the grid, entering a new one, the app will automatically play the sound piece connected to that new part. In this way the listener is able to individually navigate the order of the audio, thus creating their own composition. The project doesn’t limit itself to one location within the city, it rather considers the entire city to be a playground.
Professionals on alien or invasive plants and botanic experts as well as interviews with residents will feature in the soundtracks, next to the primary focus of the project: mapping the cityscape through snippets from literature.

Weeds As Noise is a cooperation with Eline Kersten.

Language: French. Only works in the city of Liège, on a smartphone with GPS switched on. Design: NN-studios / Pierre Geurts, App development: Hansi Raber, Translations: Isabelle Vigier, herborist: Anne van der Linde, voices: Fanny Bille and Jordan Lehane, commissioned by Souffle Vert, Guy and Louise Massart.



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Weeds As Noise
gps-dependend app, Liège. (2020)
( Click for a test version here, navigate with the arrow keys.)