Part of the Polyphonic Landscapes artistic research project at Zone2Source Gallery, Amsterdam (NL), and in collaboration with ArtEZ professorhsip Theory in the Arts/ ArtEZ University (NL).

hydroFiles is supported by by Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht and by Waternet

hydroFiles is a network of 8 live audio streams continuously broadcasting from various sites above and below sea level of the waterways of Amsterdam. In ‘live audio streaming’, microphones are embedded in places semi-permanently; they transmit sound continuously from one location to many possible listeners over the internet. Through these ‘streamers’, it is possible to tune-in to remote and hard to reach locations, it transforms the act of ‘listening to’ into ‘listening with’ environments, furthering an ethical reorientation to more-than-human life on a shared planet, and expanding geographic borders. 


What are the differences between listening to field recordings, a predetermined audio file, and listening to a live audio stream, a format that is always in a process of becoming? For ‘Polyphonic Landscapes’, hydroFiles continues to explore  how live audio streaming engenders different modalities of ‘being and listening with’ our environments, making the urban and rural waterways of Amsterdam its site of investigation. By giving the Amstel waters a voice and installing 8 live audio streams (also referred to as ‘the hydrophiles’; [hydrophile is a molecular entity that is attracted to water]) that are continuously broadcasting from above and below sea level, hydroFiles places stereo microphones and hydrophones across surface, ground, drinking and sewage waters. It hides them inside bascule bridges and historic water pumping stations, it dangles them off temporary cycling bridges, dips them into the busy Amstel canals and broadcasts them via solar power from the sand dunes. 


hydroFiles researches the affordances and limitations of live audio streaming, making contributions to creative discourses on environmental sound. With a practice based research approach and the slow monitoring of the digital air waves, the project engages with the emancipatory potential of technology in music and sound art, and prototypes immersive and sustainable strategies for composing new sound works with live audio streams.

Site: The waterways of Amsterdam, including drinking, sewage and surface water.
Amsterdam has an incredibly long history in watermanagement and a deep going relationship with water. One third of the Netherlands is below sealevel and the most of its land is build on sand. 
River dikes prevent flooding from water flowing into the country by the major rivers Rhine and Meuse, while a complicated system of drainage ditches, canals, and pumping stations (historically: windmills) keep the low-lying parts dry for habitation and agriculture.

Situation: Since December 2022 I have an ongoing conversation with hydrological scientists Maarten Ouboter about ‘giving the water a voice’. Together we are locating and researching important acoustic landmarks and nodes that refect the diverse ecologies of the water networks in and around Amsterdam. Through the installation of live audio streams below and above sea and canal waters, I’m trying to untangle the ubiquity of the water flows and the city’s historical and geopolitical dependence on its relationship to water.