Some of the most intriguing cultural innovations in the past couple of decades have utilized sonic art in public spaces. For a while there was a bench in Beacon’s Madam Brett Park that would tell you stories about the area’s history when you sat down on it. As you stroll along the new waterfront promenade in Kingston’s Rondout District, you can link to an app on your mobile phone that will talk your through your walking tour. Outdoor three-dimensional sound sculptures have recently been featured at Manitoga in Garrison, Olana in Hudson and Unison in New Paltz. Why should our eyes be the only way in which we take in such information?
Pair that audio trend with the upsurge in interest in memoir as an artform and oral history as an important way of preserving the past, and you arrive at the quirky hybrid concept that will roll out – literally – through the streets of Hudson this Sunday, August 23. The Oral History Summer School in Hudson, founded in 2012 by oral historian/writer Suzanne Snider, is trying out a novel vehicle – again literally – for conveying the life stories and memories of local residents.
Automotive Archive: A Roving Memorial is a public event/mobile installation in which the recorded words and voices of Pam Badila (speaking about Elombe Badila), Lynn Carr, Harold Hanson, Christina Malisoff, Frankie Martino and Mary Potts will be broadcast via WGXC 90.7-FM from the dashboard radios of a procession of cars making a three-mile loop through town. These six narrators will tell us about the City Hudson that they knew and loved through the audio archive that they left behind.
You can be part of this art-happening-on-wheels, if you wish. Participating cars need a working FM radio, up-to-date car motor traders insurance and preregistration at www.oralhistorysummerschool/automotivearchive. Non-drivers may join the procession as passengers. The automotive procession begins promptly at 1 p.m. for participating cars and 1:30 for passengers at Basilica Hudson’s parking lot at 110 South Front Street. The event concludes with a brief gathering at 3 p.m., also at Basilica.
For more information about this and other upcoming Basilica Hudson events, visit www.basilicahudson.org.
Automotive Archive: A Roving Memorial, Sunday, August 23, 1 p.m., free, Basilica Hudson, 110 South Front Street, Hudson; www.basilicahudson.org, www.oralhistorysummerschool.