In music practice, the term score is used for instructions, usually in the form of specialistic symbols, that musicians can interpret and perform. In this project scores are approached by replacing the specialistic notation system for more accessible written text. This is a form of documentation that is also known as text scores, event scores, prose scores, or word scores, which are also used in the performing arts (music, dance, theater). In a conceptual sense, however, the use of scores can also be found back in a variety of ordinary activities, such as the use of manuals and recipes; these too are written instructions that can be interpreted by the people who perform them.
Text scores emerged in the 1950s in experimental art that valued process over finished products. Because this form of scores makes use of written text, text scores can be accessible to a wide range of people, which make it an efficient and creative medium for collaborations between multiple disciplines.
Scores are characteristically indeterminate; their focus is not necessarily on generating outcomes with a high degree of reproducibility but rather on processes that produce potentially different results every time they are performed. Scores can be used to describe or initiate open-ended processes. A score can qualify as an artistic object as well as an activity. The composition of a score involves the documentation of a process, its realization, and the possible insights and reflections that emerge from its interpretation and performances.
In this research project, scores are designed to be performed in the city of Rotterdam by participants from different groups of civic and professional stakeholders. In an ideal situation, small groups consisting of both citizens and professionals explore a part of the city to gain insights into technologies implemented in the urban space for safety purposes, which we refer to as ‘smart urban safety’. With this approach, we aim to foster active engagement and critical reflection from the participants and provide an entry point for collective design.