AAA Portable Sound Units

The AAA Portable Sound Units are small sound-systems triggered by a motion detector. They playback on-the-street interviews with the public about their opinions on outdoor advertising. Installed in the field, the units are designed to run on battery packs and conserve power by turning on only when pedestrians pass by them.

The Interviews

The project started in the Spring of 2005, with the Anti-Advertising Agency’s Sara Dierck, Michael Dodge, and Steve Lambert conducting hours of audio interviews about issues surrounding outdoor advertising. The team hit the streets, documenting the voices of the public and their views on advertising and public space. They also interviewed selected individuals in the fields of advertising, conservation, and social criticism.

In the following months Dierck & Lambert compiled and edited down the interviews into over fifty clips at one minute each. These clips raise questions about the role of advertising in culture and vary from humorous to serious, silly to chilling, and the simply stated to the profound.

Valenica StreetSample sound clips:

  • Ads and School Kids - 930kb mp3 file

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Greenwashing – 902kb mp3 file

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Myth of Immunity – 940kb mp3 file

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Watered Down Culture – 840kb mp3 file

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Browse all the mp3 files or download a complete ZIP file of all the clips. Files mirrored on the Internet Archive.

Electronics and Construction


Dodge began collecting portable cd players from online auctions and various electronic components at supply wharehouses. With these parts he hacked into the cd players and salvaged speaker systems adding new circuits and a motion detector. These components were then installed in custom made shells.

These Anti-Advertising Portable Sound Units are tamper-resistant and operate independent of external power. They are designed to be installed in public spaces where passers-by will set off the unit’s motion detector and trigger the cd player.

Download an article written by Michael Dodge on how to build your own motion triggered cd player.

InstallingInstallation

The units were temporarily installed in several locations around San Francisco in 2005. They are en route to other cities and will be installed there in the future. See photos of the units installed.

The Future

A cd of all the sound clips will also be released to community radio stations. Free mp3s are downloaded daily on the AAA site and are also available at the Internet Archive. The clips are licensed under a Creative Commons license and we encourage their use as samples or in derivative works.

Note: Most photos taken by Sara Dierck.

Free Downloads

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3 Comments

  1. Posted June 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Any Chicago installs or plans?…

  2. Posted June 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    no, but you can make your own! Instructions are linked above as are all the original sound files. Good luck!

  3. Posted April 8, 2009 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    I used your recordings in an animation I just finished: http://originalhamsters.com/blog/2009/04/08/product-placement/

    Thanks a lot for doing these interviews. Very useful for my project.

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  • Project Brief

    After conducting hours of interviews on the street and in the agency offices, audio clips were edited down and played back on the AAA Portable Sound Units. The sound units are compact, self-contained, motion triggered, and use audio to present ideas in visually cluttered urban public spaces.
  • Collaborators

  • Press and Exhibitions

    • New York, Conflux Festival, 2006
    • Rotterdam, ROODKAPJE art space, “GIMMEGIMME!"