Mission Statement: Completing a marathon, triathlon or any long-distance race is never easy. Often an athlete’s first race is their hardest. “Ready to Start” tells the unique back stories of personal transformations that happen along the way.
What inspired these people to sign up for their first race? What were their goals? What kept them going during months of training towards this unknown challenge?
These stories tell of stamina and focus, “hitting the wall” and digging deep. “Ready to Start” allows experienced athletes to rejoice in their accomplishments. But most importantly, these stories inspire others to take on the challenge and reap the benefits of race training.
Have a story to tell?
- Please contact us at email@example.com or click on http://ohours.org/dougkanter to schedule an interview.
- We can come to your location in New York City or interview you at ITP (721 Broadway, NY, NY 10003).
- Audio interviews plus taking a photo will take about 1 hour.
Assignment 5: Suitcase stories
The assignment this last week was to play with the participants of the storytelling process. How does a story change and morph when it is told by 2 people then a 3rd engages. We decided to do a play on the three pieces that make up a story: setting, character, and action. We went to 2 different locations: Brooklyn Bridge and Highline. At each location we asked random participants to contribute a setting, character or action on a 3 by 5 index card. We gave the people prompts for each category if they wanted. We then wrote stories ourselves from the fragmented story parts. We created a webpage as well: http://www.suitcasestory.com/
Overall we were successful. People were engaged and offered short passages, phrases, draws, etc. openly. We were happy to see people getting together and sharing stories during the process of writing their story. The process gave us insights on how to engage storytellers. Groups are more approachable then singles, giving prompts, picking locations that allow you to engage people easily, etc.
Assignment 4: “2 Blocks, 2 Hours” (Collective stories using objects and locations)
Our experience during the telling:
Hand out samosas and have the students eat while we played the slideshow of the photo walk. At the end hand out recipe cards so our classmates could add a recipe that represented who they were.
Stories are informed by our senses. We create stories by re-imagining a narrative from sights, sounds, images, words, and smells. These stories are imaginary, real, or a combination of both. What was so compelling and transformative about our visit to the Tenement Museum was the palpable sense of history. One could touch the original banister that had been installed when the tenement was built, feel how tight the quarters would be (with a class of 17 crammed into an apartment), and see how these families lived. It was the place and the objects themselves that invited us to construct our own narratives. Interpret the space. Imagine. The tour really piqued our interest but we wanted to know more. What did it feel like to walk in the streets of the Lower East Side? What did it smell like? What did they eat? Since we haven’t figured out how to get Arduino to transport us back in time… we decided to go on a neighborhood exploration. We set out the South Asian section of Jackson Heights, part of an incredibly diverse neighborhood in Queens.
1: “Arrived.—Jackson heights”
2. “Manhattan crowding in queens”
3. “First sighting of Samosas and Khasta Kachori”
4. “Pedestrian walk courtyard.”
5 “Eagle Theater: former Porn palace turned into Bollywood movie theater.”
6-20. “Paan Series”
21. “Grocery store”
22. “halal cart”
23. “Maharaja Sweets”
25. “Balu Shahi and Gujia”
26. “More Sweets!”
27. “Sweets and Salts: Pakora and Galub-Jamun.”
28. “Umm.. that Samosa looks good”
29. “Kulfi—the Indian Ice cream pop”
30. “Rajbhog Sweets.”
31. “Indian Cottage Cheese”
32. “Feed your kids”
33. “Samosa break with Chai”
34. “Hunting for Veggies”
35. “In a Sentimental Mood” (That is the song he is playing)
36. “Residential block”
37 and 38: “Lali Guras Resturant”
39: “Al-Salim Halal Meat shop”
40. “Al-Salim entrance”
41. “Local Butcher.”
42. “Video sales man”
43. “Paan Ingredients”
46. “Feed the Family”
47. “Chicken Tandoori and Kabab.”
48. “More Tandoori”
49. “Tandoori Makers”
50. “Swami G”
51. “The sweet maidens.”
52. “Beet, Banana, eggplant, haldi yellow, and haldi white at Patel Brothers grocery”
53. “Veggie isle at Patel Brothers grocery store”
55. “No snickers in the check out line at Patel Brothers.”
56. “Pan Puri. Last minunte snacks at the Grocery Store.”
57. “Check out Lady”
58. “The grocery store watch man.”
59. “Little Tibet food in little india.”
60. “Bhutanese spicy chicken at Phayul.”
61. “Ting Momo. Tibetian bread”
62. “Amdo (potato) and Khampa (chicken) Dumplings”
63. “Mouth full of Khampa Dumplings”
64 and 65. “Sweet Paan. After dinner.”
What did we take away from this experience?
Food (pause). Or rather the powerful role food has in establishing community, tying people to a place, and creating memories. Also, in thinking of non-traditional stories or ways of sharing – why not engage other senses? Tasting, seeing, smelling – adds another layer to a story. It offers an alternative entry point into a narrative, another approach to understanding, learning, experiencing.
Our little food exploration also got us thinking about recipes. They are stories, too. So, we had everyone share a recipe with the class.
Tenement Museum Response:
We recently visited the Tenement Museum in NYC to prepare for our assignment about stories on objects, places, and times. The only other Tenement like tour I have been on was at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. My experiences at both places were different because of the content but similar in how the objects sparked my imagination. Its a powerful experience to be in a place that has been preserved; being able to see, smell, and touch the things from another life and time.
I found my self being drawn to little details like the layers wallpaper or what brand the silverware was. The real stories of the people did not become as important as the stories I imagined for them. The experience as a whole reminded me of our need to keep those I reflected on those little things we keep. How objects are personal and how objects transport you. In my life I have have always been into getting rid of the old and starting a new. I hate having junk around. I throw away everything I don’t need or don’t use. But there is a box of stuff I don’t throw away.
I realized, we all have a box. A box of love letters from ex-girlfriends, postcards, old trinkets, photos, old notes, and random stuff that has been given to us over the years. The box is usually in a basement or tucked away somewhere deep. We revisit it every once and a while to put something new in it and we remember. We get to remember those times with someone we were in love with, a photo of a young version of our parents, a glimpse into our past or the past of others. We then put the box away.
Heather and I are currently working on a project that is a photo based reflection of the Indian/Tibetan neigborhood Jackson Heights in Queens– How the community there recreates their country through food, objects and places.
Assignment 3: Audio Collective Story— What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me!
Our third assignment was to take a topic, setting, or idea and develop a story around it from three perspectives. Since Valentines day was upon us my partners Heather, Doug and I decided to do an audio story about love. The story takes us on the classic timeline of love (or the most usual timeline): First love in the beginning of your life, hard love middle during the teenage years, and lasting love in the end….
Here is the audio piece:
Assignment 2: Hourly Comic Challenge…
Our second assignment for collective storytelling was to do the “hourly comic” challenge. This meant we had to pick a day and make a comic entry for every hour that we were awake depicting the last hour we experienced. I spent the entire day from 8:05am to 11:05pm on 02/03/12 making comics of every waking hour.
Hours: 8:05am to 3:05pm
Hours: 4:05am to 11:05pm
This exercise was a great self tracking experience. I realized after the fact, if I did this everyday it would push me to become more present in my life. I feel like most of us are always thinking of the next step. This exercise that promoted awareness of self moment by moment. When making the comic you have time to reflect on what you did in that hour. How effecient were you? How unhealthy were you? Did you get work done? Did you have fun? You are creating a visual story of your life, your process, your experiences; moreover you are creating a personally emotional road map of your day.
It was really powerful to look through the comic the next day and remember that hour— remember how I felt, who I was interacting with and what I did in that specific time frame. We remember our days but we don’t remember each individual experience in detail; we often remember one primary event. Using your hand to draw your experience and convey it in a particular way reinforces the memory of that moment.
Why I am taking the class: I am interested in storytelling through design. The best designs comes from a compelling narrative that tells a story through user experience. I am also interested in collective storytelling the context of music and composition– How musicians discuss pieces, create narratives either lyrically or musically, how they co-write, do improvisation live, and how they critique and change their compositions.
Assignment 1: Write a Story with Constraints
Story: “at the train, stay or go” (posted on Six-Word Memoirs )
Synopsis: I made an entry into a collective story telling site: Six-Word Memoirs . This collective story site uses the 6-word format. In class, we did several exercises on constraints in storytelling. As I did the readings for this week and listened to talks, I became more and more interested in how we form imaginary narratives. I also became interested in how we form stories from little pieces of our day—our quick interactions on the subway, hearing one side of a story, reading a billboard, meeting with a friend from long ago, etc. All of these interactions, temporally different, lend themselves to the creation of a story; a story can be fictional or non-fictional or both. The TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie highlights how telling a single can create a dangerous imaginary representation of a place, race of people, and culture. These 6-word stories confronted that claim.
I was interested in using the 6 word format to see how far the imagination can go with just 6 words. Originally I though a 6-word story was bullshit, but going to the site I noticed my immediate reaction to reading the 6 word stories was to create an imaginary story behind them.
On the women on the site wrote: “Lousy marriage; Fabulous kids; Worth it.”
I immediately began thinking what the person looked like, where her kids were, how shitty her husband was, etc. I painted her life in seconds even though I knew nothing about her except for the 6 words she wrote. I started thinking about how we use our imagination to construct pieces of reality.
The 6 word story I worte is about descisions. Last night I had two choices to get on the train or to stay where I was; each presented its self with different pros and cons. My goal was to get the reader to create a personalized fictional story from reading this short passage…