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Storytelling on the move with the Hackney Hear iPhone app

Posted at 8:30 am, March 13, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment, Technology

Bob Cooke's pie shop on Broadway MarketMade by the team behind the Hackney Podcast, Hackney Hear is an iPhone app that pushes the boundaries of sound and storytelling by delivering a series of geo-targeted audio clips as you walk around the London Fields and Broadway Market area. One spectacularly sunny morning last week, I went to test it out – once I’d stuck my headphones on, the app tracked my location through the phone’s GPS and off I went on an aural journey. Clever layering of carefully-curated sounds made for an immersive experience as my ears were filled with rich layers of location–specific interviews, music and archive audio. Despite my eyes telling me otherwise, it suddenly felt like a bustling market day.

The audio is accompanied by an illustrated map of the area and a few suggested walking routes, but the best thing about it is that you can to and fro at your own pace, either stopping to listen to the whole of performance poet Shane Solanki’s ‘Lido song’ or trotting back to listen to the rest of the interview with Bob Cooke (above) in his pie and eel shop – the app automatically picks up where you left off so no need to faff around with your phone. Francesca Panetta, founder of Hackney Hear, said ‘We wanted to take listeners on an exclusive journey through this amazingly eclectic borough in east London – uncovering previously unheard stories, histories and personalities. Hackney has the highest concentration of artists in the world, and we’ve selected some of the best across different genres to create works specifically for this app.’ The Hackney Hear iPhone is free and available to download now in the Apple app store. The team hope to raise funds to produce an Android version in the coming months. Shalinee Singh

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