By Anna Pinkas
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“Storywalks at Eldridge Street” is a site-specific smartphone application that will infuse the landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue with the voices of past congregants; it will make these voices available to the public for the first time.
Dedicated in 1887, the Eldridge Street Synagogue is a breathtaking National Historic Landmark that was a place of sanctuary, support, and inspiration for thousands of Jewish immigrants living on or near New York City’s Lower East Side.
“Storywalks at Eldridge Street“ offers visitors a story told in the congregants’ own words, their voices infused with traditional Jewish music - including prayers sung by renowned cantor Edward Smith, son of Eldridge Street congregant Max Smith, whose voice is also featured in the app - as well as environmental sounds recorded on-site, and an immersive musical soundscape. Visitors explore the synagogue through a nonlinear narrative, triggering audio "hotspots" with a tap to dynamically mix a “storywalk” that reveals congregant memories of what it was like to be a Jewish immigrant living on the Lower East Side in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
This public art piece is a collaboration between the Museum at Eldridge Street, Carlin M. Wragg (Producer and Narrative Designer) and Anna Pinkas (Visual and Interaction Designer), with custom software by creative technologists Chien-Yu Lin and Lia Martinez, a soundscape composed by musician Mercedes Blasco, and location recording and sound mixing by Ryan Billia.
“Storywalks at Eldridge Street” grew out of a class project at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of the Arts, where the artists were students, and successfully crowdsourced all funding through Kickstarter.
What's New in Version 1.1
Minor Bug Fixes