“When I Whistle…” by Bill Orisich and Benita Carr shot at Swan House, Atlanta History Center.
Swan House, the 1928 mansion at the Atlanta History Center, served as a canvas for When I Whistle…,” a site-specific performance artwork for video by Bill Orisich and Benita Carr. The History Center partnered with the two artists on a Swan Coach House Art Gallery show called Print or Projection. They used the house as inspiration and shot everything over the course of eight nights, featuring local performance artists, original music and text. The final product, When I Whistle…, premiered at the show opening, and was projected in triptych onto three panels inside the house. Most readers may find the video strange and confusing (and there is some nudity, too) but an art critic called it “intelligent, thought-provoking, and brand new.” It’s another example of historic sites being used as a way of engaging new audiences or interpreting them in new ways. It’s not appropriate for all sites, but it’s something to keep in your toolbox of ideas.
Thanks to Jessica Rast VanLanduyt, Director of 20th Century Historic Houses (what a great title!) at the Atlanta History Center, for sharing this with us.
Next week I’ll be at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta, Georgia leading a workshop with Ken Turino of Historic New England on the rethinking the historic house museum. We’re not the only ones who are working on this topic, indeed, Michelle Zupan at Hickory Hill assembled a five-page bibliography of books, articles, and dissertations for the workshop, so long that I’m hesitant to distribute it because it could be discouraging (“what? I have to know all this to rethink my historic house?”).
And if we want to go beyond historic house museums, the list would be even longer. Businesses have been “rethinking” for decades in order to grow in size or increase their profits. They have the resources to study this topic rigorously and there is a lot we can borrow for our field (and much that doesn’t apply and can Continue reading →
This 6:38 video describes a partnership between the Etowah Valley Historical Society and the Kennesaw State University to map historic sites throughout Etowah Valley in Georgia using GIS with the aid of college interns. Jennifer Leifheit-Little directed the project. You can find some of the results of this project in the interactive historical maps on the historical society’s website, with such topics as African Americans, Native Americans, mining, cemeteries, and Civil War (note: these maps take time to load and most didn’t seem to show any data in my Chrome browser).
This video is one of the forty multimedia stops in a new “story-caching” application that allows users to visit and learn more about various historic events and landmarks in Georgia as part of sesquicentennial of the Atlanta and Savannah Campaigns of 1864 and the semicentennial of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Once installed on a GPS-enabled smartphone or tablet, the application guides users to a site with a “story-cache”–a streaming multimedia presentation that “projects” the past onto the present location. Atlanta high-rises yield to Civil War trenches; Martin Luther King, Jr. is suddenly standing and speaking just where he once did, giving users the illusion of being transported back in time to become a member of his audience. Content is activated simply by being in the right place and pointing your smart device at a particular sign or statue or object. This project is developed by ARwerks, an augmented reality design and production company (their web site isn’t fully operational, so they remain a bit mysterious).