St. Ann’s Warehouse, the performing art institution that resides within Dumbo’s 1860 Tobacco Warehouse, has crafted a site-specific app that allows you to interact with Brooklyn Bridge Park in a creative new way. The app, named “Hear Their There Here,” is a sonic experience that invites park visitors to explore the landscape to the sounds of voices from people that passed through the exact same point of the park, connecting past with the present.
According to Hyperallergic, HTTH was created by theater artist Geoff Sobelle in collaboration with app designer Jesse Garrison and sound designer Gareth Fry. During the spring and summer months, Sobelle interviewed hundreds of people, from tourists to locals to business owners, on a range of topics that varied from simply sharing their observations of the park to how the neighborhood’s real estate forefront has shifted over the years. Each conversation has been geotagged and once app users are within close enough proximity to the location, they can listen to the sound bite that was captured.
The app has been described by Hyperallergic as falling “somewhere between a documentary and a game of chance” and we can get with that. You never know what audio file you will come across but it’s a unique way to gain the perspective of someone who once stood in the same space as you. It’s almost as if someone granted you access into the thoughts of a person you likely may have never considered speaking to, had they been standing in the park right next to you.
“There’s a very strange sense of presence,” Sobelle stated. “You’re both in the here and now, but you’re hearing people’s presence from some time ago, and sometimes it feels 100 percent applicable, and sometimes it feels very wrong because you’re in a different temperature and moment.”