Bench-mediating Spatial Storytelling


A Literary project relating stories, conversations, lives and poetry about the sea, by the sea. Benches that line the bay set the scene for the visitor to encounter narratives of people conversing intimately or routinely around life by the sea. Fishermen fixing boats, preparing nets and setting sail, and returning from a day at sea to sell their daily catch. The homeless seaman, taking naps on the benches with skin burnt by the sun and coarse living in the bay. Record his unintelligible stories. A bay adorned by multiple traditional fishing boats and a statue of ‘Toninu is-sajjied’ (Toninu the fisherman), to whom a traditional song was also dedicated. Traditional Maltese Poetry will be listened to as one proceeds from bench to bench: the central theme being the sea, while the physical medium being the bench. Conversations with fishermen will inform narratives on life at sea. At the top of the bay Spinola Palace historically guards against invaders.

Spinolabay actionbound

Mission of Bound

While basking in the sun, in the meditative form of sitting on a bench by the sea, you can engage primarily by listening to poetry and stories of the sea. You can further engage by recording own thoughts, conversations, sounds, human interactive sounds, and poetry. These can then be uploaded as storytelling lived bodily experiences for that particular bench, for others to engage with in the future. Thus, while engaging with the history of the fishing seaside village/bay, by listening to historic accounts through local poetry and storytelling, you are also forming the story of its present and future, through immersion in the physical medium of the benches that line the bay.

Mobile locative narratives set the scene for the sharing of stories through different forms: auditory, literary and other textual forms. The blurring of the physical world and storytelling space is marked by “nodes” (Ritchie, 2014, p.63) in the form of wayfinding markers, such as benches, boats, statues and people. The bench is the physical medium “to bridge the digitally and physically mediated story spaces formed by digital media and the environment” (Ritchie, p.55). Thus the line between the storyworld and the physical world is indistinct and “the immersive nature of the story thus mediated” (Ritchie, 2014, p.55). On the walk by the sea, sitting on the bench and in interaction with the locals of the seaside village, the physical environment becomes “a medium through which a story can be told through the actions of its inhabitants in the spaces themselves” (Ritchie, 2014, p.58). (Non) linearity of sequence, which influences perception, and the tying of a narrative to a location are aspects of fundamental significance in the spatial storytelling of this actionbound experience.



Ritchie, J., 2014. The Affordances and Constraints of Mobile Locative Narratives [pdf] Available at: <> [Accessed 12 March 2016].

Tracing the Tunnels

Beneath Newhaven Fort and stretching into the surrounding area is a network of tunnels known as HMS Forward. During the Second World this was a Royal Navy Intelligence Centre. Many of these tunnels are now derelict and inaccessible, but still hold an interest (as underground and hidden things tend to do).

The proposed app will trace overground, this underground network using a series of ‘spots’ to tell the user what lies beneath their feet and so see their surroundings in a different way, as, according to Farman: “The meaning in of a story is affected by the place in which the story is told and, similarly, the meaning of a place tends to be told through stories” (2014, p6).

The user would be guided by the sounds of what once happened beneath their feet – typing, the tuning of radio frequencies, the voices of children exploring, ghosts stories and even a film crew – with the sounds getting louder, guiding the user to the spot.

Once the user is standing on the ground above a part of the tunnel with a story, they will hear about what happened beneath them. As they walk away the sounds of the tunnel will intermingle until they decide which they want to follow.

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The stories will not be ordered chronologically, but present a layered history of what has occurred beneath the ground throughout the history of the tunnels’ existence. This layering of multiple stories will provide a range of perspectives and does not require a beginning, middle or end (Farman, J. 2014, p9).

The sound experience can be combined with a mapping function to show the user’s route around the site, by following the path with loudest sounds they can trace a route on their mobile device of the tunnels. An additional element is the use of code or encryption that must be deciphered, thus emphasising their original purpose for intelligence gathering.


Farman, J. (2014). Site Specificity, Pervasive Computing, and the Reading Interface, pp6-9. Routledge.

Filming the Fort

As the smart phone has become an extension of ourselves or ‘intimate technology’ (Ritchie Pg 5 2014)) so we can see how the idea of locative art (Behrendt et al pg 6 2015) within different environments and within different contexts has become a much more viable part of our digital cities.

Netparks are interesting areas to develop digitally as developing this community public space into ‘the 21st Century’ (Behrendt et al Pg 30 2015) using smartphone technology feels like a natural continuity. Netparks can become fluid, changing spaces, and as digital parks can continually be changed and updated as there are no physical structures to knock down and re-build (recreational or art based)

Newhaven Fort could be a digital environment or netpark based on an historical buildingScreen Shot 2016-03-13 at 09.27.53

The key purpose of my Actionbound app  is for the participants to develop a creative interaction that connects them to  this environment and its history. The mission would be an educational experience and is focused on students from Year 9 through to Higher Education who are studying subjects such as English, History or Media Studies. The idea is that they not only have they to find their particular location or story but they also have to think of an interesting way to represent it through moving image, either as a news item, a (very)short drama, or in a more experimental way using image and sound. These locations are all highlighted on the Newhaven Fort website and will need to checked out on the field trip to see if they are viable

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Where my concept might not be right for the Actionboound is that I feel it has predominantly one major outcome, that of creating an interesting video, rather than fully engaging with GPS and the scanning of the code. This will be explored for viability on the field trip where I will see how I can incorporate it more seamlessly.Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 09.30.33

Interaction is a really important element in helping develop engagement and I feel this would encourage this, in particular in developing ideas of the best way to represent and communicate these different historical locations.


(Behrendt F, Doughty K, Poulter S, Bailey C, Reid J (2015) NetPark. Research and Development Report.

Ritchie, J. 2014. The Affordances and Contraints of Mobile Locative Narratives. In The Mobile Story. Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies, ed. J. Farman, 53–67. Oxon: Routledge


Honouring pasts, connecting futures

MJM20 Blog 6 Newhaven Fort

Location-specific Actionbound draft
Actionbound Newhaven Fort : Honouring pasts, connecting futures

Stage one
What does it sound like at the Newhaven Fort?
Find spot Location coordinates 50.7832° N, 0.0544° E

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Stage 2

Why is there a Canadian war memorial at Newhaven?

Go to collections at the Fort and find the answers

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Stage 3

How far is it to Dieppe and how long would it take to get there in a small boat?
Find Dieppe on an OS map and estimate travel time

Stage 4

Where is the secret tunnel and what was it used for?
Look at the information to answer the questions

Stage 5

What kind of poetry and music does the landscape and situation inspire?
Listen to recordings of contemporary and historic poems whilst sitting outside at the Fort looking over the sea

HMS Forward was a military intelligence centre located in Newhaven. The challenge for a bound developed here was how to integrate a challenging past with opportunities for positive future connections across continents in the digital age.
A key question is how can people utilise technology to support people in environmental challenges such as flooding and also social and political instability. Today’s disaster is the loss of life for refugees trying to cross oceans in small boats fleeing from war, many people had smartphones. The distance from Turkey to Lesbos is similar to Newhaven to Dieppe.

The websites with information about Newhaven Fort focus on community connections and memories. The bound idea would support people to look at the connections and history found in the collections and on the websites and to locate memorials and significant historic locations.

In addition, spoken word poetry and music associated with the history could be recorded and linked to the locations to be listened to as part of the stages. The blending of ‘the digital with the physical’ NetPark (2015) would help to create an atmosphere and sensory experience of history in the present. Where a location has history which is difficult to represent through audio locative media, narratives through spoken words can reflect history and atmosphere.



Behrends F, (2015) NetPark

Net-haven Fort


 Turning Newhaven Fort into a Netpark ( is a brilliant opportunity to develop a digital engagement with the local space. It would be fundamental to first study the territory and what it has to offer in order to subsequently create specific outdoor works. It is important to study which zones have a better access to Wi-Fi in order to let the final experience run smoothly. This can be done by testing whether “wifi reception [is] coinciding with park areas of interest”. (Figure 2. Pg. 13, Behrendt, Doughty, Poulter, Bailey and Reid, 2015) Nonetheless we can predict a test-idea for activities in the area using Action Bound.

I have personally found the example of the Netpark in Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea slightly alienated. “All the works are experienced through a smart device, either iPad, iPhone or Android. All are best experienced with a set of headphones” ( and, hence why my Action Bound is preferably made for groups (2+ people). I believe more interactive tasks between users in the park could be a simple solution. (i.e. Possible mission for a kid: Write a story that involves two animals. If you see someone taking its dog for a walk in the park, go ask him/her the name of the dog and take a picture to upload to gain new insight in the story.)

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In my ActionBound ( I tried to create some missions where users need to explore the territory while interacting with other users by for example, asking for suggestions.

On the technological sphere, I have found a few problems: in ‘Scan Code’ you cannot insert a GPS position, therefore I am not sure of how to practically find a code to scan in a determined area. Like-wise, on ‘Mission’, it is very easy for users to upload images and videos while it is not for sounds. Even though sounds may be incorporated into videos, the quality of them may likely change as for storage capacity.



Metal, Netpark 2015 [online][Accessed: 11 March 2016]

ActionBound App and project

Behrendt F, Doughty K, Poulter S, Bailey C, Reid J (2015) Netpark. Research and Development Report.


A fleeting exclusion: space and the city

The fleeting and temporal trait of sound and its direct relation to space in the scape of the city reflects the experience of location-based mobile media. An awareness of the prominent positioning of sound, which is often overshadowed by the visual, is brought to the forefront in the embodied active experience of walking to the remix of designed sound or sound art through the city. Listening also takes on an active role in directing movement and conducting the soundtrack of the locative experience. “Mobile music as part of the urban landscape” (Beer, 2007 cited in Behrendt, 2012, p.284) creates an “experience of control” (Simun, 2009 cited in Behrendt, 2012, p.284), an immersion or exclusion into/out of the multisensory city.

I question and wonder whether the potent experience of sound in immersive locative mobile activity through the city, is really one of immersion or is it that of exclusion from the city’s surroundings? Mobile music (mp3) and the use of headphones detach oneself from the public space and remove the person from the surrounding sense of sound that immerses us in location. Though the National Mall offers an interactive site-specific sound experience, the listener/walker who engages with it, loses out on the unique, momentous, temporal and fleeting sounds that that walk through time might have in store. Thus our senses are controlled, exclusion takes hold. If “sound situates man in the middle of actuality and in simultaneity” (Ong, 2000 cited in Behrendt, 2012, p.288) how can one not experience exclusion in the private domain of controlled sound while outdoor in public space?

Space and our senses’ interpretation of it lies at the center of the locative media experience. While through sound “the ear is a much better analyst of space” (Motte-Haber, 2002 cited in Behrendt, 2012, p.287) the visual creates distance and eliminates space. “We hear… the presence of atmosphere” (Toop, 2004 cited in Behrendt, 2012, p.287) while “if we look at objects we perceive space as being empty, only being ‘decorated’ with objects” (Behrendt, 2012, p.288). I’d like to present the spatial aspects of the visual and aural in the work of video artist Gary Hill Around and About (1980), a relationship between sound and vision in which space is almost eliminated by the objects that reflect it while sound makes us experience that distanced space by feeling its presence.


The historic, narrative form that actionbound offers as an app for locative interaction with sound can be experienced (though I have not personally experienced it) in the likes of Soho Stories; An excellent way to preserve and document the history of certain areas and communicate it to passersby. On this note, I am yet to experience the use of such an app and hopefully will start to do so as from this week.



Behrendt, F., 2012. The Sound of Locative Media [pdf] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 March 2016].

Augmenting our Reality

Back when the videogame industry first started their foray into Virtual Reality, the goals and outcomes were to remove the player or audience from their real space and insert them, as realistically as made possible by technology, into a virtual one. We all remember those shaking and moving capsules in funfairs and theme parks, where you would sit inside and ‘experience’ a particular journey or event through sight (screen), sound (stereo) and the movement of the capsule. Now there is a large focus on Augmented Reality – particularly with devices such as the Google goggles and rumours of a similar version for Samsung phones.

Augmented reality is a large part of what’s being developed in videogame industries at the moment and a particular example is a mobile game called Night Terrors. You play it on your mobile phone, at night, in the dark, and your goal is to save a little girl. Your mobile device – an iPhone, iPod, Android phone, etc – is your only way of seeing what is around you, and it maps out your home and environment in real time in order to create a realistic experience of being chased by demons and monsters in your own home. One of the key elements in this game, however, is sound, which the creators discuss briefly in the first trailer (skip to 3:39).

Not only is sound key in creating the experience as a narrative element – you can only find the girl by following the sound of her voice – but fine-tuning of setting such as pitch, volume, reverberation allow you to understand what is where and how safe you are (or not). Sound here is used to create an immersive experience that would not be possible using only visual means.

Zombies, Run! is another great example as not only is the storytelling compelling enough to make you want to run longer distances to unlock more chapters, but being told you have a horde of undead chasing you and hearing them groaning really does get you to speed up – especially if you’re running at night. A feature that is not mentioned in the example given in the article (Behrendt, 2015) is that sometimes characters will ask you to run a certain distance and turn at certain locations to collect supplies – such as ammunition, food and medicine – or rescue other survivors. So there is also a GPS and mapping element to this game, as it uses your location to give you directions to fictional missions (*I used this app extensively as my go-to workout app when I lived in Italy so this knowledge comes from personal experience).

Following my passion for gaming and augmented reality, I decided I would approach Actionbound as a potential immersive fictional experience as most of the public examples I have seen have been educational, informational or historical. I believed it could be used to create a narrative – much like Night Terrors or Zombies Run – as it gave me various options.

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I found ActionBound to be very easy to use and intuitive but like any service that is not meant for professionals or comes with a hefty pricetag, it is quite limited. The options to create “Information” stages and “Missions” have amazing potential for fictional locative experiences, but I would have liked more options of integrating sound – a free sound effect library, the ability to record sounds as a mission.

It is disappointing that no one has explored ActionBound as a platform for building a fictional augmented reality experience! This is something I would like to explore further and possibly even record the narrative and missions. The fact that you can read text and play sound at the same time is very interesting as it can provide a feeling of being “guided” through your storyline with background music and even a narrator.

I will most definitely continue to explore ActionBound as a tool for creating a locative narrative that is not necessarily bound to the city as a subject, as most examples I have seen are; there is tremendous potential as well in the city as a vague, unnamed location with no history in order to create a realistic narrative by using visual clues, without having to link them to real information. For a larger ‘game’ one could even give the player the mission of finding a way to reach a different town, such as driving or taking a train from Brighton to London or Hastings, giving the cities fictional names and backgrounds.


Behrendt, F. (2015) Locative Media as Sonic Interaction Design. Walking through Placed Sounds. WI Journal of Mobile Media.

ActionBound < >

Night Terrors IndieGogo Funding Campaign < >

Zombies, Run! < >

App and Down

ActionBound in a friendly phone app dedicated to media and mobility. It would be perfect on a summer camp for students between 15 and 18 years old to help them in their daily activities. Students in this years range are very suitable in using a mobile technology.

Bohoo ( is a trail educational project where the basic idea is to involve a group of international students learning English in Brighton to engage with the city by letting them explore so to be more confident with the territory and to improve their language skills by giving them tasks and quizzes to solve within one selected time.

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In the screenshots there is shown some examples: getting to the Fountain at Old Steine and prove the achievement by filming a short video or listening to a sound (of seagulls, loud chats, noises and laughing) previously recorded letting users guess where it comes by exploring the area. Doing this ‘game’ in groups would avoid the problem of technology accessibility because it would be only needed one person who can access the app and this can be decided beforehand.

The more global problem of accessibility connected to the fact that one task is created specifically in a determined location could be deviated whether a big educational organization is then involved. By using ActionBound as an activity tool on every holiday locations available in the organization package (i.e EF has schools over more than 107 countries in the world –, the locative accessibility would be increased. Although the local special exclusivity still remains, meaning the hearing of sounds and other actions are specifically linked to one place, the cooperation with locative media such as ActionBound let users be fully in charge of interacting with “sound and media while at the same time they are busy navigating their urban environment and experiencing their surroundings.” (pg. 288, Behrendt, 2012)


Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 18(3)283-295. Sage. Available at:

Bohoo Task

Action Bound

Sounds are Worth a Thousand Words

The advent of mobile has freed computing from both a fixed location and the hegemony of the visual; allowing for new possibilities of using sound that are now being explored. The way in which we interact with sound can be divided into four categories of “placed sounds”, “sound platforms”, “sonifying mobility” and “musical instruments” (Behrendt, 2012), with placed sounds being the most developed.

The most obvious manifestation of placed sound is the tourist guide that, once accessed through their mobile device, accompanies visitors around sites, imparting historical information, narrative, music or a combination of all of these.

An example of this Soho Stories (National Trust, 2012) a walking guide that has been created with AppFurnace, and takes the user on a tour of London’s Soho in the twentieth century.

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Soho Stories from The National Trust

With a combination of music, street chatter, actuality and narrative, the mobile’s GPS locates the user and a different story is told according to the location. As the user leaves the vicinity the story they are listening fades away to be replaced with a fresh one for their new location, only to be picked up again should they walk the same way twice.

While content can be accessed in a virtual mode by selecting locations on a map, the full experience of the work is site-specific and includes the act of walking in Soho, thus changing the experience of the anytime, anywhere access to mobile.

The possibilities offered by sounds are also being explored in innovative ways by news media – telling stories that are easier for the ear to comprehend than the eye, in Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical (New York Times 2010), the differences between the first and last places in a selection of Olympic events is demonstrated by the time between notes, a much clearer way of communicating often minute intervals of time.

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Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical


Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 18(3)283-295. Sage. Available at:

Cox, A. 2010. Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical. New York Times. Available at: [accessed 5 March 2016]

National Trust, The. 2012. Soho Stories. AppFurnace. Available at:

Sounds Like

MJM20 6.3.16 Blog 5 Sounds like

The platform action began as a media education project. It has focussed around exploration of specific locations and team development activities. The format is similar to treasure hunt style games where participants are locating clues or producing media examples to answer questions for the ‘bound’ or game. The process is designed for use with a smartphone with camera and GPS facility. The graphics appear to be aimed at a younger generation of players. The experience of using a smartphone to follow the program for me was problematic and lost continuity.

The ‘bound’ titled Royal Pavillion demo begins with a locative ‘placed sound’ audio recording from outside the venue, which gives seagull and crow calls familiar and evocative of this coastal location. Subsequent stages ask participants to take a 30 second video in the location which is then uploaded to the website, along with answers to sequential local interest questions. A sound from the Pavilion bound which is a ‘natural’ locative sound, sits in contrast to a ‘mobile media’ electronically generated urban soundscape such as referred to in Behrendt.(2012). There was difficulty in completing the location question as even from standing right next to the building, it seems I was missing something. Results are included here:

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A basic Actionbound project could be a ‘bound’ created to compliment activities at the Dome for International Women’s Day(IWD). There is already focus on women’s history walks and also as part of Brighton Fringe, Notorious women of Brighton and Hove in history will feature as a walk activity. An IWD bound could have activities with questions about women’s history, speeches and the walking/wheeling tour of locations. Images and audio recordings could be uploaded to the program, but also a section for participants to contribute. I did not produce further work on this idea as I was unable to access the action site on subsequent attempts. Screenshots of Actionbound stages and a link to are included as examples of a potential locative media project process.


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IWD walks

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Behrendt, F. 2012 The sound of locative media
Convergence:The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 18(3)283-295

available at: