Under the ARCHIVE + ACCESS umbrella we find all sorts of project frameworks that consider the ways in which we make, document, save, share, distribute, and become aware of human meaning-making. 

SITES + SOUNDS is at its core a decentralized framework for community archiving, which rethinks the ways we map and experience place and its stories. 

This exciting project considers the ways in which humans have always made meaning in and with place, and invites the public to inscribe their experience into the landscape, which then become part of a digital platform linking these commons-generated audio walking tours with ecological, historical, somatic, speculative, and other content.

On the ground, installation and intervention take a variety of forms, including site-specific, geolocated sound materials and signage with digital extensions.A centralized mobile / digital app-based site (working with Echoes’ spatial audio programming elements.) 

Like all AUTONOMOUS MECHANICS offerings, SITES + SOUNDS is designed to scale and be operational in a wide range of settings, with implementation possibilities from the most personal / DIY through progammatic and/or archival interventions for municipalities, organizations, communities, etc. 

Operationally, SITES + SOUNDS uses everyday materials, and when fully rolled out will both offer and invite signage blueprints for DIY construction and/or production through local or virtually accessible sign shops.

What does this look like on the ground? Here’s some examples: 

SITE 1: PERSONAL: A family wants to mark the passing of an elder, so they look at the options and choose a sign type that makes sense for their SITE -- maybe under a tree this elder loved -- and they select a SOUND, perhaps a voicemail they left a grandchild -- and upload this sound to the app. They make the sign following the instructions, and when others pass the tree they can listen via QR code, or through the app, from anywhere in the world.

SITE 2: CREATIVE, ie: BLACK HOLE HOLLOW: Choreographers working with a site-specific dance mark this SITE for public intervention by recording prompts, leaving a SOUND “score” of types for others to engage with, suggesting movement others can experiment with. Again -- those on the site itself can interact with the sign on which the QR code is placed, or engage via the digital resources.

SITE 3: COLLECTIVE, ie: BENNINGTON COLLEGE: At the organizational or community level -- a town, school, faith community, library, or any collective entity -- this infrastructure can be brought in to assist in short term or permament projects that engage with the physical site. At Bennington, this looks like an intervention that invites students, faculty, staff, and other community members to create sound-based signage to activate experiences on and around campus and its grounds, informed by historical, ecological, personal, creative, and speculative content. 

Some logistics and operational notes:

Organizational projects can be facilitated by an Autonomous Mechanics Field Agent or by Elæ Moss in a consultancy, visiting artist or other similar capacity. In these instances, the project can follow any conventions or limitations necessary for public signage, and/or specifications as to where signs are possible -- and, potentially, can create a new, site / organization specific visual language to create cohesion for that specific project / location.

The signs themselves will take a variety of forms. First, there will be a number of larger informative signs about the project at strategic “entry” points from which walkers can navigate the “trails” of audio content. Trailmarkers / project audio elements are designed to be seamless with the environment, and will follow one of a number of standard park / trail type signage designs. (see below)


This project has nearly a decade of performance, research, and writing behind it. Components across media have been presented and published under a variety of related project titles, as well. Research and performance elements with early infrastructure for the site-specific audio platform were presented by myself and one collaborator, composer / musician Stanford Cheung, in January 2022 as part of the New Mimesis: Simulation, Models, Metaphors and Data in Music symposium hosted by the Orpheus Institute (Ghent), WinterSound, and the CISA Research Unit at Canterbury Christ Church (Kent, UK).

As part of the public Speculative Solidarities offerings in conjunction with the ARCHIVE + ACCESS and YEAR ONE projects (in Crossett Library and the Center for the Advancement of Public Action / CAPA, respectively), SITES + SOUNDS is being activated on the Bennington College campus during the 2023-24 academic year, as well as popping up elements in collaboration with local partners. Concurrently to the Bennington iteration a SITES + SOUNDS installation is emerging at Black Hole Hollow as part of a durational residency; in North Bennington collaborators include Jennie Rozycki at the McCullough Free Library and Rhonda Ratray at Left Bank (as well as with other partners in the US and abroad).