Drainscape of Tallinn

sonic city tour and participative performance in public space, zusammen mit Jürgen Lehmeier
Estonian Ministry of Culture, TunedCity

People from Tallinn and Visitors from abroad were invited to research on sonic potentials throughout the drainscape of Tallinn´s Old Town.The project focused on the peculiarities of the Old Town´s drainscape – its different shapes and diameters. The drainpipes have double diameters compared to Western ones. There are round shaped pipes next to rectangular pipes, some with decorations, others clean and functional.The open tubes (discharge vents of the tubes go directly on the street) scattered all over become an agglomeration of open resonant pipes tuned by the height of the buildings. It is like a set of instruments inscribed in the topography of the city. It is an open source for experimental listening and analysing. The Old Town as “big organ”. How is it tuned … how does it sound?

The pipes of the Old Town were tested with a special mobile equipment during a workshop. The gadgetconsisted of a clipable microphone, an amplifier and headphones. The best pipes were marked in a mapand got an orange or blue dot with a number. In the end two different drainpipe-tours could be offert to tourists and residents during the summer of “the European Cultural Capital”.

One could rent the equipment at März-Center and one could explore the Old Town in a sonic way byfollowing the routes on the map. If somebody wanted to explore new pipes he could add them in the map. So the basic Drainpipe-Tours were supplemented by additonal locations and interesting pipes.It was a guided city tour of the special kind. The tuned sound of Tallinn´s Drainscape broadened new horizons of perceiving the sensitive facets of the Old Town. Casual bystanders wondered about the strange crowd, leaning against a wall and listening to the sounds of the pipes. But after asking for more details they also joint the experiment.