The cross-platform documentary project Cairo in One Breath focuses on the 1,400 year-old oral tradition of the adhan, or Muslim call to prayer, as it undergoes unprecedented change in Cairo, Egypt. After 60 generations, thousands of individual muezzins are being replaced by a single voice broadcast from a radio station as part of a government plan, but as the Adhan Unification Project takes hold, Egypt undergoes Revolution and regime change. The project is as much about documenting an ancient tradition as it is about soundscape, and the intersection of tradition and modernity.
The interactive online experience was created during Hot Hacks, a weekend of hacking as part of Hot Docs, created with a team from The Secret Location and Mozilla in Toronto, Canada, and can be experienced at http://onlookfilms.com/hothacks
The interactive component features three vignettes in an Interactive “Triptych”, each with a distinct user experience:
Discover A learning experience that began before sunrise and ended after sunset. Throughout the course of a day (corresponding to the five adhans) five characters are discovered and introduced using their locations as markers.
Experience A way for the user to move through a map and experience what Cairo feels, sounds, and looks like via gps tagged audio.
Create Calls for the user to create the soundscape of Cairo by clicking on what is at first a white screen; clicking in each location triggers the sound of an individual adhan and visualization through which a faint image of Cairo’s cityscape begins to be revealed, the more you click, the more gets revealed visually and sonically. Each time the page loads, a different image of Cairo’s cityscape is loaded.