Sound walks are a recent addition to the world of urban exploration and travel, but Untapped Cities has been scoping them out as they pop-up. The Guggenheim Museum’s Stillspotting NYC took us to Staten Island. Untapped writer Lea Plourde Archer created her own auditory tour of Tokyo. Now, Gonzo (circus), an innovative music and culture magazine, offers eight Klankstappen (sound walks) to download as audio accompaniments to urban exploration throughout the Netherlands and Belgium. In reality, the design of these programs has the potential to transport the listener to just about any major city across the world.
A group of artists known as the United States of Opera has taken over the inside of a warehouse in Amsterdam. This warehouse, otherwise known as the Freezing Favela, is a temporary city located within an industrial park in the Oostenburg neighborhood of Amsterdam. For those of you unfamiliar with the word, “favela” is a Brazilian term referencing a shanty town or slum; often located on the outskirts of a city. Such was the place I found myself in after having wound my way through an interminable parking lot and past a makeshift beach park to come upon the entrance, which was marked by two unassuming sentries in the form of cows.
While experimental performance is typically thought to evoke a niche audience, its presence is more ubiquitous than you may think. Believe it or not, the experimental music scene is alive and well across the western region of the Netherlands; otherwise known as Holland. Not to be overlooked as a trendsetter in how music interacts with and enhances public space, it is apparent that this inventive genre is increasing accessibility to the arts in practice and performance. Moreover, the Netherlands has a lot to offer through experimental music to someone living on modest means.