Soundwalk, a downloadable series of city and theme specific audio guides, stimulates another sense – hearing to enhance one’s travel experiences. The company’s avant-garde “sound journeys” fuse spoken word, music and ambient sounds to create “soundtracks” to each destination. From a verbal tour through Varanasi to a walk along the Bronx’s famous graffiti walls, the downloads produce a virtual encounter and deliver a new, different experience.
Although arguably less practical, these methods enrich the intellectual, cultural and artistic context of travel. These tools encourage mindfulness during the journey
by immersing travellers deeper into the narrative of the destination – its past, present, myths and inspirations.
In addition, it is because of digital projects like NeonSigns.hk, an online exhibition of Hong Kong’s iconic neon signage, that M+ is already open, even though the physical building is not yet ready. The exhibition retains some traditional elements, in the sense that artists’ works were curated. But by digitally mapping the city’s neon signs, and asking visitors to upload their own photos of the signs (thereby making the visitors the creators), the museum has shown that technology is not only a useful tool, but can change the way we interact with art in a geographical context.
If we see travel as a way of cultural exchange and the accumulation of artistic experiences, the mindlessness brought on by our misuse of technology seems to defeat the purpose of travel in the first place. Yet, there are numerous artists who have come to rely on digital imagery to assist in their creations. Even before the digital age, it was normal for artists and writers, whether amateur or professional, to document their travels through sketchbooks and journals and take home an interpretation of their travels.