Compass Song is a sound art app made for the Times Square district in New York City by artists Mendi + Keith Obadike. It allows users to walk and discover fragments of music and poems spread across the pedestrian plazas and surrounding blocks of Times Square. This app is a site-specific public art project and works only in the Times Square district.
• There are unique sounds/stories to be found north, east, west, and south.
• Wander with the compass and chance upon the sonic verses.
• Use the map to see where all the sonic verses are located.
To experience Compass Song, use headphones, allow location services in your phone when prompted by the app, and walk through the Times Square district. Enjoy the sounds. As you walk through Times Square, short, sonic, location-specific verses will play on your phone. The compass will point to the nearest place to hear a verse. Occasionally you will hear a voice speak or sing to you. You can stop and listen, or walk until you discover a new verse. Press play on a visited map pin to hear a verse replay. You can also put your phone in standby mode, put your phone in your pocket, and continue to run Compass Song in the background. Please note, however, that continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life. Press mute to turn off sound and stop location updates. You also can press playlist to hear a sonic verse directly from a map pin when you are outside of Times Square.
Compass Song is modular by design. It can be experienced in any order and for varying durations.
Where: The project’s zone is between 42nd street and 49th street, with 8th avenue as the western border and 6th avenue as the eastern border. The work is centered at Duffy Square (located at 7th avenue, between 46th Street and 47th Street). You can use the Compass Song map as a guide or wander through the district to happen upon the sonic elements. Compass Song offers a new sonic frame through which one can experience Times Square.
ABOUT COMPASS SONG
Created by Mendi + Keith Obadike and inspired by Time Square’s rich history as a crossroads, Compass Song is an app-based public sound artwork, a lyrical piece about finding your way at the “crossroads of the world.” The word ‘compass’ can refer to a navigational tool, a circular path, or the tonal range of a musical instrument. All of these meanings of the word come to play in Compass Song. When launching the app you will hear the bustling sounds of Times Square re-performed vocally, as if the city were singing to you. As you walk through the Times Square area you will periodically hear a voice accompany your wandering with poems about searching for freedom, stories about navigating the city, and cross-cultural myths about the cardinal directions (north, east, south and west). The piece also quotes and reworks the African-American spiritual and Civil Rights freedom song “Walk with Me”, spreading the piece out over several blocks of the city. The voice in Compass Song is always underscored by a drone, a unique harmony sonified from the latitude and longitude data for Times Square. The harmony in this drone modulates as the user walks north, east, south, or west. Compass Song is ultimately an invitation to meditate on choosing a path at the crossroads. For more information on the project please visit www.CompassSong.com.
Compass Song was commissioned by and created in residence with Times Square Arts. Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. www.timessquarenyc.org/arts
You can find more about Mendi + Keith Obadike at www.Obadike.com
Concept, Audio, Creative Direction by Mendi + Keith Obadike
App Development by Ivo Wessel
Compass Visual Design by Rico Frederick
– Adaptations to newer devices
– Small bug fixes
Ratings and Reviews
Data Not Collected
The developer does not collect any data from this app.
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Ivo Wessel
- 744.4 KB
- Requires iOS 12.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 12.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 12.0 or later.
- Requires macOS 11.0 or later and a Mac with Apple M1 chip.
- Age Rating
- This app may use your location even when it isn’t open, which can decrease battery life.
- © 2021 Ivo Wessel