How do digital cultures and technologies shape our perception of the world? Digital cultures are characterised by entanglements between our lived experience, bodies, and senses with the data-processing power of computers. We increasingly make sense of ourselves and our world through information that is filtered and presented to us by algorithmic systems. In this theme, we explore how digital technologies affect our identities, public life, and cultural institutions. We examine how digital technologies affect our senses, aesthetics, bodies, and cultural lives, thereby organising our daily interactions and experiences.

City Symphony
City Symphony is a world-first augmented reality sonic artwork developed by spatial audio company Textile Audio (Dr Eve Klein and Ravi Glasser-Vora) in partnership with the Queensland Music Festival (QMF). Launched in May 2021, it transforms the malls, laneways, gardens, and river walks of Brisbane’s CBD into an interactive and environmentally-responsive musical experience. A digital platform generates a personal soundtrack determined by users’ geolocation. Nine CBD sites, linked by 13 sound trails, form this world-first sonic artwork, crafted with cutting-edge digital technologies and aesthetically innovative composition techniques. City Symphony’s gradual unfolding of sound worlds offers the listener a recalibration of their environmental awareness. Each experience is location-specific, time-reactive, and shaped by environmental data: sunrise, sunset, and river tides signal climatic, transitional musical moments. The work encourages audiences to travel through, and be present and inspired by, place – deepening their relationship to the environment and travelling into unexplored alcoves and pathways, uncovering sonic secrets.

Born from an exhaustive community engagement and workshopping process, the artwork draws on the stories and perspectives of a range of community groups to craft a musical narrative about Brisbane’s past, present and futures. The final work is a collective reimagining of Brisbane, an act of aesthetic placemaking extending the range of possible narratives and experiences that make up a city.

Working Group
The Digital Cultures working group meets in the School of Communication and Arts once a month on Fridays. Contact (digitalcultures@hass.uq.edu.au) to join the group.

Digital Intimacies
UQ’s School of School of Communication and Arts and the UQ Art Museum will host Digital Intimacies at UQ in 2021. From 2018 to 2020, the School of Communication and Arts led the Platform Media strategic research initiative. The initiative explored the centrality of digital platforms to media industries, cultures, and public life. View videos of talks held as part of the initiative here.