August 23rd, 2016

A Digital Scavenger Hunt

by Nikki Owens

john reeder

John Reeder, of Seattle, Washington, recently came to the Harrison Center for the Arts for a 48 hour residency. Fascinated by sounds and technology, he connected easily with HCA studio artist Quincy Owens whose recent public art has incorporated these elements. They collaborated quickly (remember, this is a 48 hour residency!) and came up with the idea to use mobile technology to create a digital scavenger hunt for the Great Places 2020 Maple Crossing focus area. As a result, friends and neighbors will be looking for QR codes (you can download a QR code reader from your phone app store) within the Maple Crossing radius. They will be placing 10-12 geographically specific codes that prompt questions on a mobile device. When the user answers a question or gives an opinion through text, they become part of the creating a sound art piece.

John worked during his residency recording sounds throughout the 38th & Illinois commercial district and then created the algorithm that connects the sounds to create an actual musical composition. With one exception, the QR codes don’t function if people don’t provide input. That means there is one code out there that, when stumbled upon, gives you the full musical composition. This hunt invites people to explore the neighborhood a little deeper and with a different intention.

Are you?

How would you feel?

What if?


It’s a mystery?

Scan above and answer the questions.

Scan here to hear the sounds your answers created.

Titled the XYZ project, it is still in the beta phase because art of this nature is relatively uncharted. It is exciting to explore what site specific, interactive & collaborative art experiences can look like when this technology is utilized. John and Quincy are looking forward to how the XYZ project can grow with the addition of visual elements based on text messages as well as adaptation and personalization of text prompts. This would allow it to also relate specifically to local merchants, organizations, groups and businesses. They are also excited about the exploration of word to sound juxtaposition, saying that the possibilities really are endless. As for the people using the codes, they can can be comfortable in the anonymity of it. Users will be encouraged to use it as a diary, confessional or even submit poems and to play with the coding to create their own sonic works.

Look for the scavenger hunt QR codes this Saturday in Tarkington Park at the 38th and Shine event. We live in an exciting age folks, so get out there and enjoy!