[Be the voice of] Sound Map Commons Project [Be the voice of, in Turkish] is a website designed to serve various interactive online sound map archives for diverse communities. The first of these campaigns is the Adalara Ses Ol [Be the voice of Islands] Open Archive Sound Map for the Islands District in Istanbul, Turkey (famously known as Prince Islands) and the Marmara Sea surrounding them.

The SesOl sound map project aims to develop an open and interactive sound data archive of the living (anthropologic, bioacoustic, and other biophonic) and non-living entities (geophysical, mechanic, urban and so on). The content of the uploaded sounds also acts as a social forum exhibiting environmental, social and political problems, conflicts, memories, desires, demands of the islands and the Marmara Sea commoners as well as the multiplicity of the forms and existences that these various commoners take, inhabiting (islanders of various time spans, immigrants without papers, local animals, insects, and flora etc.) or passing by (travellers, tourists, migratory animals etc) the islands and the Marmara Sea in various temporal frames.

Methodologically, the project brings together ideas from various arts, humanities, geography and sound studies paradigms and tools of cybercartography, mapping, audio ethnography, composition, storytelling soundscape ecology, soundwalking, oral history, auto-ethnography, qualitative research interviews and community development.

The project proposes the idea that a collaborative and interactive data collecting and sharing method can enhance active listening and contemplation through participant’s engagement in field and autobiographical recordings and later tagging the recordings conceptually as participants copy the recordings to the server. The project uses a data coding/tagging system to locate multiple spatial and temporal acoustic events of multiple aspects of scenes and entities in both virtual and material form. Fixed category tagging allows us to easily connect every recording in a network and free tagging allows the participant to contribute to the language of the virtual community.

Unlike most other sound maps, the sound upload system also includes representational sound tags that trace the past vanished (sample sounds, recordings of news reports and so on) or allow recordings created by artistic media (i.e biodata sonification recordings or story telling recordings).

The map allows participants to continually revisit the events and their own position in the changing soundscape – a fluid experience where participants continually add new positions, new contexts and dimensions to the soundscape.   Tagging and mapping of the sounds are not only acts in active witnessing or self representation -locating, archiving, preserving knowledge but also taking part in creating a virtual community that can be experienced simultaneously discordant, rhythmic and harmonious and may have effects in potentially then after different community.

The project invites thinking the relationship of the aesthetic act to the ethics and the knowledge of commons in the events of material and immaterial, human and non-human, resident and non-resident networks of the soundscape practices. 

The team has also designed a movable sound installation to be exhibited on the islands and the ports of Istanbul. 

The sounds and the other creative work produced out of the sound data are licenced with
Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA Creative Commons Licence.

The project is developed by the volunteer efforts of the team and on personal funds.

The idea for the platform was initiated in May 2015 and our software is updated in April 2017 to enable several categorical, spatial and temporal tagging. In April 2017, we have now half of the recorded sounds and our new tagging system available on our website.    

The team has also disseminated a call for an album and other individual sound works to be produced out of our sound data- i.e. sound mixes, sound installations, radio mixes, dance choreographies etc.

In the future, the will be opening its site for various sound map projects proposed by different communities or groups starting with the community project for the city Izmir, Turkey.

Currently, the site language is  Turkish while recordings can be of any language that is heard on the islands and the Marmara Sea. We are in the process of translating the Sound Library on the HARITA [MAP] page to 1o other languages along with Turkish:  Greek, Armenian, Ladino, Kurdish, Arabic, Assyrian, English, German, French, and Spanish.

See HARITA [MAP] for the sound map (will be available back again in April due to programing updates)

See SES EKLE [ADD] for adding sounds to the map

See RADYO [RADIO] for the playlist of some of the sounds. 

See SESTEN İŞLER [SOUND WORKS] for our call for individual sound works to be produced out of our sound data- i.e. sound mixes, sound installations, radio mixes, dance choreographies etc.

See MEDYA [MEDIA] for the academic publications and presentations, albums and radio broadcasts, press releases, blog and newspaper publications, graffiti, posters and images, and exhibitions and performances that reference Team:

Gürkan Mıhçı (Sound Team, Soundwalk)

İpek Oskay (Project Founder, Coordinator, Principal Researcher, Web Design, Sound Installation Design, Sound Team)

Melih Dalbudak (Sound Team) 

Ozan Öztaşkıran  (Software consultation)

Tayfun Can Akbaba (Web Developer)

Tolga Balcı (Sound Team)  


We appreciate all the great contributions of our friends in the initiation of this project: Kerem Bora, Alaattin Cineviz, Fulya Hocaoğlu, Mehtap Çağlar, Dr. Leslie Hayduk, Dr. Rob Shields and Laçin Tutalar. The main site image belongs to the artist,  Sine Boran Art. The backend development of the sound upload system was started by Kerem Bora and Tayfun Can Akbaba in September 2015 and enhanced by Stefanus Andree in April 2017.