Group of people kneeling around several colourful post-it notes on a sidewalk

Join us for Jessica Thompson's last performance of Borderline, where the artist and her team will lead a sound walk. The sound walk utilizes their mobile app, Borderline, which analyzes and ties participant-submitted spatial sound recordings to map locations as a means of examining invisible socio-economic borders, creating a footprint which can be listened to by subsequent users. Please come dressed for the weather and in suitable footwear.

‘Borderlines’ are invisible boundaries that affect social and economic mobility in urban spaces. They appear whenever there is a difference in income, stability, or other forms of demographic information, and when combined with local sounds, they illuminate important intersections between sound, place, and power. 

These maps illustrate the percentages of renters living in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, and the percentage of renters who spend more than 30% of their income on housing. The borderlines show the difference in after-tax income between neighbouring areas. The larger the borderline, the greater the difference in income.


 Jessica Thompson is a media artist working in sound, performance and mobile technologies. Her practice investigates the ways that sound reveals spatial and social conditions within cities, and how the creative use of urban data can generate new modes of citizen engagement. 

Her interactive artworks have shown exhibitions and festivals such as the International Symposium of Electronic Art (San Jose, Dubai, Vancouver), the Conflux Festival (New York), Thinking Metropolis (Copenhagen), Beyond/In Western New York (Buffalo), NIME (Oslo), Artists’ Walks (New York), Locus Sonus (Aix-en-Provence), the AGW Triennial (Windsor), InterACTION (Kitchener), HASTAC (Vancouver), Re:Sound (Aalborg), and Entorno Encuentro Exploración (Pamplona), The Politics of Sound (Lethbridge) and CAFKA (Kitchener). She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Government of Ontario.

She is an Associate Professor of Hybrid Media at the University of Waterloo and the Director of the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.