Q&A with Resident Kurt Roembke

To whatever extent you’re comfortable, can you share about your project?

SoundWalk is an app that will allow artists and composers to create both spatial music compositions and audible narratives for real world public spaces.  The idea came to me when walking through Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne.  I often use physical objects and locations as inspiration for music/sound pieces, but I thought, “What if I could create a music piece for a physical location and connect the listening experience of the piece directly to the landscape that inspired it?”  So, I got some funding from Fort Wayne Soup, a local micro grant fundraising event, and used the money to have a local company Elemental Spark develop a version of the app for experiencing my compositions in Lindenwood.

With 212, I will potentially develop the Lindenwood app further, but mostly focus on developing a full program/mobile app that will both allow composers and artists to create and also allow the public to access these creations.  I hope for a day where there are multiple sound experiences to walk through in Fort Wayne, and also hope for them to spread to other cities or even countries.

 

What do you find alluring about your medium? What capacities does it offer that complements your project?

The medium is totally new to me!  I’m growing as an artist and am constantly challenged by every new project that I start, but this one has definitely brought the most challenge.  Composing music that doesn’t have a linear form, that transitions from piece to piece depends on the actions of the listener, is pretty tough to figure out!  I’ve been practicing making music for video games and that has definitely helped with thinking about music that doesn’t necessarily have a defined start and end.  I’m getting better, but I still have a lot to learn.

For my 212 project, it is nearly impossible to separate the medium from the project itself.  The experience is completely unique to the landscape around the listener and the technology that is delivering the experience, and the artist who is interpreting the landscape. 

 

In what ways do you hope/expect 212 will help to develop your work?

With 212, I will potentially develop the Lindenwood app further, but mostly focus on developing a full program/mobile app that will both allow composers and artists to create and also allow the public to access these creations.  I hope for a day where there are multiple sound experiences to walk through in Fort Wayne, and also hope for them to spread to other cities or even countries.

I’m hoping that my mentor can help me keep a realistic scope on the project, and also help me with the logistics of how to go about this type of project.  Because, it is more than a composition project, it is a project that hopes to bring other artists into the mix, and hopes to build an app for the mobile marketplace, and it is an attempt to get people to experience something outside of their usual routine.  That last one is a huge challenge on its own!  I really hope that we can convince people that this experience will be worth checking out and being a part of.

 

 

Part of the 212 program is that you are assigned a mentor who will help guide you as you develop your project. What excites you about working with a mentor? Do you have any anxieties about it? How do you imagine it will affect your process?

I’m so excited to work with a mentor.  I often feel pretty isolated when working on my endeavors and I think just having someone to bounce ideas off of that will give me credible feedback will be great.  I am not at all anxious about my mentor.  If anything, I’m just anxious to see where this project will go and where it will take me professionally.  I hope I can handle it all, but I’m excited to try.

 

In what ways do you think working in a shared space with the other residents/artists will affect your process?

I love working next to people, but I’m also incredibly private about my creative process.  That being said, I’ve worked with a few of the people who are also taking part in 212 and I might even be helping their projects with some sound elements which is very exciting.  I love being around others who are working hard at their art, so I’ll tough it out and wear headphones when I need to hide my working compositions from outside ears. :P  I have a bit of an imposter syndrome, so I definitely don’t want people to hear my compositions until I at least think they’re listenable.

 

As a first implementation of SoundWalk, you propose to create a soundscape for Lindenwood Cemetery. Will your application be solely musically based, or do you imagine other implementations?

I really want to consider opening up the option for people to plot storytelling audio experiences onto physical landscapes.  Like a choose your own adventure style delivery of a narrative, different areas triggering specific historical memories of the space… that type of thing.  I want that so bad!