"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."
-excerpt from UBIQ: Sound and Subversion
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.
THE APPLE BOMBER
UBIQ is also referred to as the “Apple Bomber,” because of his work involving Apple retail stores.
Original Intervention October 29, 2013, Wal-Mart Supercenter
1675 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Footage aired on Fox Philly, Oct 29, 2013
The pedestrian footage documents UBIQ’s intervention at the crossing from Seventh to Eighth Avenue on West 43rd Street in Manhattan. For five hours during the Monday rush, he gained control of the existing sound structure that “beeps” to indicate pedestrian crossing, and played the sound of a dial-up modem instead.
Technicians and authorities arrived at the scene around 7:30 am, and despite their best efforts, could not disable the sound. The following day, UBIQ formally apologized via his Vimeo channel for any disservice he had caused to the hearing-impaired.