It’s a late afternoon in the fall of 2013. Apple has just released IOS7 and Boston’s Boylston Street Apple store is crowded with customers. Suddenly, the store’s overhead soundtrack stops. Unbeknownst to the shoppers and salespeople, they are about to become victims of an act of artistic intervention. A single clear note - the Apple alert Sherwood Forest - pierces the store. Everyone pauses as it repeats three times before the sound system’s regularly scheduled Coldplay song resumes. This was the first documented intervention, or Sounding, by anonymous artist and hacker UBIQ: The Robin Hood of Sound.
UBIQ, short for ubiquitous, is known for his impromptu concert-like interventions in which he usurps control of (semi-)public sound infrastructures in order to broadcast the iconic ringtones and alerts from familiar digital interfaces. His practice raises questions not only about the role of sound in user experience, but about global corporate culture and subversion in a digital age.