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Adrienne Mackey '04 premieres TrailOff, Interviewed by WHYY

The audio walking performance explores 10 Philly-area trails

A person with dreadlocks and a backpack stands with their back to the camera and a hand on their head, looking up at the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Photo by John C. Hawthorne

This Fringe Adrienne Mackey '04 premiered TrailOff, the latest project of her innovative company Swim Pony, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC). Although Fringe 2020 has ended, TrailOff will be available to download free for a whole year, so you have plenty of time to explore. 

PRESS: Listen to Mackey's interview on WHYY (starts around 32:30). 

This immersive augmented reality performance presents ten original audio narratives written specifically for ten trails within Philadelphia region’s expansive Circuit Trails network. Each story centers experiences that connect with communities traditionally underserved by environmental programming. The writers are Carmen Maria Machado, afaq, ari, Jacob Camacho, Eppchez !, donia salem harhoor, Erin T. McMillon, Li Sumpter, Denise Valentine, and Jacob Winterstein. You can learn more about them here. 

Audiences will experience these intimate journeys through the TrailOff app, developed by Toasterlab, which uses GPS triggering to link audio to specific geography as users walk the mapped routes. Phone sensors will also prompt subtle variations dependent on weather and time of day, tailoring each experience. The stories have been created uniquely for each trail site with scenes narrated by beloved local performers and underscored with music and atmospheric sound design crafted by Michael Kiley. After each walk, additional content is available in-app including podcast-style interviews with writers and points of environmental and historic interest on the trail. 

Mackey, who has returned to teach at Swarthmore over the last several years, will begin a tenure-track appointment at University of Washington in January. Check out her work before she moves West!


A person is seen from behind walking along a paved path lined with yellow leaf trees.