The Vision I had in the Desert

from the vault: my Ignite presentation at Web 2.0 last year, on Narrative Archeology and place-based journalism.

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Going back to the source

Time + place + personal memory + camera = http://dearphotograph.com/

Thanks to Kendra for showing me the lovely site from whence the image below came.

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Introducing a StoriesEverywhere/StoryCorps/KQED collaboration…

Thanks to everyone who came out last Saturday to check out my latest experiment in narrative archeology!

If you couldn’t make it, the project lives on.  So, if you are in NYC’s Lower East Side, try this geolocated audio stroll of the neighborhood I just created in collaboration with StoryCorps, which debuted at the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas.

As you pass by certain spots, you can hear the walls talk, with the voices of people who have lived or worked in that place at some point in time.  I culled the stories from StoryCorps archives– an amazing resource of thousands of interviews of everyday Americans.

Print out the flier below for instructions, and a map.  If you have an iPhone, you can access the stories via a free iPhone app called “Getting Closer,” which will start automatically playing each story as you pass by the spot it’s about.  If you don’t have an iPhone, you can access the stories by dialing them up* on your cell phone (technology courtesy of Mobile Commons).

*Note: To greatly enhance the experience, wait til you’re at a spot with a story before dialing the number… the stories are meant to be heard on site.

And here’s a printable version of the flier.

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The talk I gave at Where 2.0 last week… so fun to be in a place full of place-lovers.  Placeamentalists?

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place-amentalism

I was just thinking that environmentalism can be a divisive concept. Some people identify with it. Some don’t. But what about place-amentalism? Loving places. Is there anyone who isn’t attached to at least a place or two?

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The Knowledge

I’m letting the ideas of the Where 2.0 conferencepercolate over the next week, as suggested by my new favorite DC Aussie, Bonnie Shaw.  One of the speeches I can’t get out of my head is “Context is Everything,” courtesy of cultural anthropoligist Genevieve Bell.  (I’m proud to have shared the stage with her.)  I love her story about traveling in Penang, Malaysia with her friend.  They needed directions somewhere and her friend said “let me get my GPS,” and that GPS was her mom.

Knowing a place can be a point of pride.  I remember a game I liked to play as a kid.  I was just old enough to have developed my sense of direction, of “whereness,” and I wanted to test it.  On the way home from the grocery store or the library I would ask my mom to let me navigate her home.  The rule was she couldn’t take a turn until I told her to. I felt wise knowing the contours of our streets, the network of our town.

Then as I got older came a different game of whereness.  This time my dad would test me: we lived in a suburb north of San Francisco, but he had grown up in San Francisco proper, and wanted to impart “the knowledge” (I mean this in the sense of London cabbies) of his  city.  So he made me memorize the order of the streets that ran through his old neighborhood, Cow Hollow.  Lyon, Baker, Broderick, Divisadero.  Scott, Pierce, Steiner.  Fillmore, Webster, Buchannan. Laguna, Octavia, Gough.  Franklin, Van Ness.  I developed a mental map of his neighborhood, and to this day when I pass through those streets it is like seeing the face of an old friend.

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Collaborating with StoryCorps

Storycorps has long been a kindred spirit in the media landscape.  I’m excited to be collaborating with them for an exhibit at the Festival of Ideas for The New City, sponsored by The New Museum in NYC, where we’ll be mining their extensive archives for stories about the Lower East Side and nearby neighborhooods, and unleashing them on to the street, for curious passersby to listen to via mobile phones.

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