Crosswalk signal sounds are both infrastructure and culture. They sound like beeps or chirps or drums, depending on the city or town; there are even signals that are to the tune of folk songs in Japan. They are everyday wayfinding infrastructure and unusual bits of the hyperlocal soundscape.
I’m working on a sound installation that is comprised of a mix of these signals, and I’ve got exhibitions in Chicago and San Francisco in the next year where this work will be experienced. It’s still very much under construction, but I’m hoping 1) to create an encounter with these sounds that defamiliarizes them enough to hear them with new ears and 2) to ground their pragmatic use in the experience of pedestrians who use senses other than vision for their street navigation.
So I’m looking for a couple of kinds of data. I need as many copies of sound files as I can get, from as many different global sources as possible. And I need to hear from people who use these audible signals—people who are blind or who have low vision—so I’ve set up a quick survey form with a few questions. I’d love to hear from you; send questions to research assistant Klara at klkaufman (at) vassar.edu.