Dear Occupy Wall Street,
I am a supporter who has been energized by the strength and inclusivity of the Occupy Wall Street movement. For the first time in years, I am feeling hopeful that a large, class-based movement can address the insane economic inequity in our country. I have been involved with the protests, but am writing with a couple of projects/tools which I think would be useful for the OWS occupiers. I'm not sure if this is the best way to get in touch, but please forward (or let me know who might be interested in talking with me further directly).
First, I would like to recommend Curb Exchange, an audio walking tour of the Wall Street neighborhood that I completed for my media art MFA. Unlike most walking tours of the area, it features a very comprehensive history of Wall Street as it developed into a bustling neighborhood and center of the global financial system. It features a series of short mini-tours, each set in a different era of the neighborhood, that uses biting commentary and dramatic vignettes to look at the rise of the stock market through a critical business stance. I think this tour would offer details of the neighborhood's past protests and perspective that may help expand our understanding of what's going on today. Currently, the tour can be downloaded to any mp3 player from www.curbexchange.org. If people have iPhones, it is also available through Locacious, a new iPHone app.
Secondly, Locacious is a new iPhone app that I think would also be a useful tool for the occupiers. It offers free gps-generated audio walking tours, so when you walk around New York City, you can access them by location. Currently, there are two other tours, along with Curb Exchange, featured on the app that explore Wall Street history: a look at the Dutch period in the 1600s and the period of slavery that lasted until the 1820s.
One very cool feature of this app is that it allows users to make their own tours. So anyone with an iPhone (who pays 99 cents to be a guide, a fee the creators said they would donate back to OWS) can make stops on a tour they create, add text, upload pictures and audio recordings. It would be extremely useful to document live events -- i.e. day 30 of the occupation, today at the protest, etc. -- but the possibilities for making different kinds of tours that would document various aspects of the movement are endless.
I do think both the tours and the app would be useful and would welcome any suggestions on spreading the word about both. One idea I had was including a story about the app in the next issue of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. To that end, I've included a short article that explains more. Please forward on to anyone at the newspaper that might be interested.
Also, the creators of Locacious have offered to come down and give demonstrations of the way the app works at Liberty Plaza. If that is something of interest, please let me know.
Finally, on an unrelated note -- I would like to offer my time to help with the OWS media group. I am a freelance writer/editor with nearly a decade of experience working as a proofreader/copyeditor, and would be happy to lend my skills to write/edit and/or proof any OWS materials or publications. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or just respond to this email).
Wall Street’s Past Comes Alive Through Audio Tour App
Zinn once wrote “If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible
future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new
possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even
if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join
together, occasionally to win.” For those of us occupying Liberty Plaza,
mobile technology can offer a opportunity to not only remember those
past moments of resistance on the very streets where they happened, but
also to create a unique record of the history we are making now.
a walking tour app for the iPHone, iPod Touch and iPad, offers several
unique features that allow us to both revisit Wall Street's
less-than-illustrious past and document our own (hopefully, better) present and future.
Created by web developer Peter Grand and Columbia University professor
Donald Davis, Locacious features an easy-to-use interface that allows us
to not only listen to free GPS-generated audio tours for free, but also
CREATE and download our own audio walks with the tap of a screen.
Currently, three tours available on Locacious take a searing look back at Wall Street’s past. Curb Exchange (www.curbexchange.org),
by A.E. Souzis, is an hour-long audio walking tour that offers biting
commentary and dramatic reenactments of the people, panics and protests
that have beset the neighborhood since the rise of the New York Stock
Exchange up through the 2008 bailout. Unlike other pro-business tours of
the neighborhood, Curb Exchange takes a critical stance on Wall Street's businesses and barons that contributed to the financial crisis we are in today.
tours available on Locacious include two walks from the National Parks
of New York Harbor Conservancy that look at lesser-known periods in Wall
Street history. The New Amsterdam Trail takes us all the way back to the Dutch Period in the 1600s and This Hallowed Ground: Slavery in New York explores the uneasy connections between slavery and the Wall Street area until the practice became illegal in the 1820s.
the most creative aspect of Locacious is what we can make on our own.
For 99 cents*, we can upgrade the app to become a creator of our own
tours. Using the app’s accessible interface, we can choose spots on the
map, take pictures, record audio and upload it all within seconds. We
can make any kind of tour-- from a simple live report of the occupation
organized by time or place, to a map of police harassment to
a walk through the communities emerging from Liberty Plaza...the
possibilities are endless! To try this out yourself, or for more
information, search for Locacious on the iTunes app store or visit www.locacious.net.
the creators of Locacious will donate any proceeds [including Apple's
share] from downloads of the app used to create OWS-related tours
worldwide for the remainder of 2011 to community and human rights groups
(including legal defense) for the 99 percent.