Document is an interactive installation that records situated history through the assimilation of historical images and stories narrated by pedestrians in Washington Square Park. This project has been developed by Marcus Pingel, Karl Mendonca, and myself.
Document Project in Washington Square Park.
Document is an interactive storytelling installation placed in New Yorkâ€™s Washington Square Park constructing a polyphonic oral narrative through the assimilation of historical images and stories recorded by individuals in the park.
The installation is a column-like wooden kiosk that plays an uninterrupted stream of stories recorded during the lifetime of the project, accompanied by a real-time "mix" of live video and archival photographs. People can interact with the installation by listening to the stories or use the "Tell a Story" button to record an experience of their own.
This paper will introduce the project briefly covering the design process and the public response to the installation. Theoretically, the practice of oral history will be examined from within the context of what John Berger calls the "landscape's address", where the physical experience of Washington Square Park both during the recording and playback of stories becomes necessary to maintain the spatial resonance of the stories. Further, we will discuss the ethical implications of documenting and (re)presenting appropriated material and argue for the elimination of any form of editorial intervention or an internal / external system of categorization / ranking.
Lastly, given the recent decision by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to redesign the park, the project will be assessed in terms of its affordance as a counter-hegemonic platform for contestation.
Document Interface - .
Listening to stories.
Testing the audio and images.