The streetscape of Taipei offers a unique example of accidental sonification. Storefronts project promotional messages onto sidewalks through cheap megaphones, punctuating their opening hours with looped discount offers; portable MP3 players diffuse catchy tunes in front of market stalls to entice passers-by; battered loudspeakers installed on light trucks crisscross districts with amplified electoral recommendations or real estate advertisement; videogame cabinets and pinball machines beckon to children through twinkling melodies and high-pitched jingles. Residents carve the urban sensorium with sound-producing devices, puncturing the city’s soundscape with their vernacular acousmatics. If sound art is understood as a deliberate aesthetic instantiation of sound in space, then these practices of sonification can be appreciated as a veritable kind of accidental sound art. “Listening/Accidents” is a pairing of artworks that happen at the encounter of the aural and the accidental. “Accidental Sound Art” is a sensory ethnography of the vernacular acousmatics of Taipei streetscapes. “Models of Listening” is its sociotechnical inversion, and utilizes the sonic devices documented in the former as unlikely carriers for unindexed recordings of urban sound fragments.
“Listening/Accidents” encourages audiences to experience the works as a chance to be swerved by accidental listening.