Guggenheim Artists Create Tour To Tell S.I. Inventor's Story
The home where Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant who some credit with inventing the telephone before Alexander Graham Bell, still stands on Staten Island. Meucci was obsessed with sound and two artists from the Guggenheim Museum have developed an interactive walking tour to tell his story. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Staten Island's north shore is home to the St. George ferry terminal and large numbers of industrial ships ply the Kill Van Kull that borders it.
So it should come as no surprise that much of what you hear there are the sounds of boats and wind.
"You hear these kind of low, drone-y sounds but it seems far away," says audio artist Justin Bennett. "It gives you this sort of sense of, I don't know, rest or peace, which is nice."
It is in that vein that Bennett and poet Matthea Harvey created the soundtrack and story line for an audio walking tour along the waterfront. It's part of a Guggenheim Museum project called "still spotting" that's intended to show New Yorkers so-called "still spots" that exist despite the noise and stress of city living.
On Staten Island, Harvey and Bennett tell a story that weaves fact and fiction about the life of Antonio Meucci, the Italian inventor who once lived on the island and his wife, Estera, using poetry and sounds.
"Ester is this woman who or this mermaid who loves sound but she loves the sound above ground," Harvey says. "In the piece, you'll hear the things that she's hearing with her kind of mermaid delight."
In creating their story, the artists spent several days walking along the island's north shore, listening for unique sounds and visiting places most people don't know about.
That's how they found a so-called "stone piano," the second stop along a 90-minute tour, which begins at the ferry terminal.
The tour snakes through industrial spaces like the Atlantic Salt Company, which is usually off-limits to the public. And there's more.
"It's not only the waterfront, though the waterfront is great," says David van der Leer with the Guggenheim Museum. "We're also going into the residential neighborhoods here."
Starting July 14, tours will be offered every Saturday and Sunday until August 5. For information on taking a tour, check out stillspotting.guggenheim.org.