First Fort Wayne SOUP Winner Explains Soundwalk
Jun28

First Fort Wayne SOUP Winner Explains Soundwalk

With the next Fort Wayne SOUP (learn more) micro-grant dinner coming up this Thursday, I caught up with Soundwalk’s Kurt Roembke, the first micro-grant winner, to learn more about his creative project designed to enhance the Fort Wayne community by pairing locally composed sounds with local landscapes. Roembke is a music composer and performer and media professional based in Fort Wayne. He is also a co-worker and personal friend of mine, so I was excited to learn more about this project and just what it takes to be a successful presenter at Fort Wayne SOUP. About Soundwalk Roembke and Michael Sullivan, app developer from Elemental Spark, are developing an immersive smartphone application called Soundwalk, which will pair music composed by Roembke with physical objects within a geographic space. Lindenwood Cemetery on Fort Wayne’s west side is the first area being mapped via the app. “What we’ve developed so far and what we plan to be our final form is basically people take their phone, they download the app, and they really could put it in their pocket at that point,” Roembke said. Once app users are walking, the experience would be hands-free and completely controlled by the app at that point. People will be able to walk from place to place while listening to music composed specifically for each area of the cemetery. Users would then be able to check the app to see what music is playing at certain locations. The music will change based on the physical features of the area or the history behind the people buried nearby. For example, if there is a memorial to a former baseball player, the music might be inspired by that. At Lindenwood Cemetery, app users would be able to jump right into the experience once they arrive at the cemetery. People will be able to start their walks near the entrance, but users could really be able to start from anywhere. Although people can technically use the app as part of a group, Roembke believes many people might choose to make it an individual experience within the space. “There’s something about the nature of walking through a cemetery that feels a little more solitary and less group-oriented,” Roembke said. The initial vision in Roembke’s mind for the app was a two-dimensional sound space where users would walk from location to location and the music would do a seamless crossfade transition. With the influx of mini-grant money from SOUP, Roembke has expanded his vision to create a more interactive user experience with the app. “We basically started to develop it as a three-dimensional sound space,” Roembke said. “What that means is, the app pays...

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