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[murmur]: Locative narrative

Title[murmur]: Locative narrative
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSawhney, G.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting - ICHIM07: Proceedings
Conference Start DateOctober 24-26
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Ontario, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordscommunity, history, locative, mobile, oral storytelling, psychogeography, user-generated content

[murmur] is a locative audio documentary project that collects and distributes people's stories about specific places. During their daily routines, pedestrians walk past sites which are marked with a sign indicating the presence of one or more stories. By using their mobile phone to dial the telephone number on the sign, the listener can hear others' stories of that place, in that place -- the details come alive as the listener walks through, around, and into the narrative. The stories are as personal as the relationship people have with the spaces they inhabit. Secret histories unearthed, private truths unveiled and tales as diverse as the city itself are discovered and shared. All members of the community are encouraged to participate and contribute, so that the "voice" of [murmur] reflects the diversity of the neighbourhood. [murmur] was first launched in July 2003, in Toronto's Kensington Market neighbourhood. Since then, it has expanded to six other communities in Toronto, as well as neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, San Jose (California), Edinburgh (UK), and Dublin (Ireland). Supporters include the City of Toronto, the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver, the Canadian Film Centre, Canadian Heritage, New Media Scotland, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Heritage Lottery Fund (UK), the Scottish Arts Council, the Bealtaine Festival, Age & Opportunity, Dublin Docklands Development Authority, and The Arts Council / An Chomhairle EalaĆ­on. [murmur]'s objectives are: to provide a platform for local residents to share their stories with each other; to increase civic pride and participation through an increased knowledge and understanding of communities' places; to increase awareness and (thus) preservation of built heritage; to increase communication between communities, especially those separated by clear ethnic, geographic and/or language boundaries; to make these stories available as widely as mobile phones and the Internet will allow, and to help foster a greater appreciation for the depth and diversity of the life of cities. This paper will describe the inspiration, history, methodology, process, and outcomes of [murmur]. It will also offer a vision for the future of community-based, participative mobile & locative media.