ECHO aimed to unite communities through narrative, vibrations, and the built environment. An echo is a vibration that returns to the individual with a momentary delay. This initiative asked the community to reflect on their interactions with people and spaces in their neighborhood, culminating in two unique projects that playback these reflections: Intersection Mixtape and Playback Your Story.
How does a neighborhood define itself?
Intersection Mixtape is a soundscape built on interviews, soundwalks, online submissions, and song requests from Bloomingdale and Eckington residents.
Artist’s collective, FURTHERMORE, created a remix and gifted it back to the community through an interactive listening party that was held on November 12th, 2016
The mixtape source samples are freely available to the community through a Creative Commons license. Re-use, re-cycle, re-mix!
Soundwalks and Surveys
To collect neighborhood sounds for the mixtape, FURTHERMORE conducted soundwalks and survey.
Soundwalks were open to the public; residents, recorded, observed, and reflected on the impacts sound had in their community. During the walk, residents explored: 1) How sound helps us think about the past, present, and future, and 2)How different sounds might comfort us, connect us or make us feel safe. The community was also encouraged to call-in and leave a message or a sound for their neighborhood.
Students, residents and artists also surveyed residents to get a better understanding of how people felt about their neighborhood. Their voices were recorded and included in the mixtape.
The artist collaborative, FURTHERMORE, collected these sounds for a mixtape that was shared with the Bloomingdale and Eckington communities!
FURTHERMORE is an artist collective which includes José Ruiz, Natalie Campbell, James Huckenpahler and Patrick McDonough. The collective regularly curates exhibitions, performances, screenings, and other public events in order to fill cultural voids. Their program is malleable, process-based, and nonlinear, with a focus on the artist-as-organizer and the exhibition-as-experiment. We collaborate with artists, from emerging to established, who reconsider the social, political, economic, and aesthetic concerns that are unique to this moment in time.
The project developed through a series of workshops with local leaders, residents and businesses:
Andre Sanchez-Montoya, Shilpi Paul, Bradley Thomas, Kristin Jarrett, David Hall, Teri Janine Quinn, Laura Hagood, Stacy Wallace, Ethan Arnheim, and Aisha Bonds.
Curry Hackett is a design consultant and creative producer with a current focus on communication design, exhibition design, and illustration. His background in architecture and infrastructure reinforce his expertise in design and culture in urban environments. Hackett has worked with TRG Consulting Global to provide design development services for the American Battle Monuments Commission, currently consults on the DC Clean Rivers Project (DC Water’s $2.6 billion river cleanup effort), and has developed design strategies and original artwork for numerous clients in the DC area and abroad.
How do different members of the community experience their neighborhood?
On November 12th, 2016 neighbors shared their stories with each other through a series of Playback Theatre performances and videos created by artist John Johnson and company. These interactive improv shows involved a mix of theatre, movement and sign. It was a great way to connect to new folks in the community.
How do different members of the community experience their neighborhood? When you know a story about a long time shop owner, a Deaf student, a resident, an artist, or a new business owner, does this change the overall impact of your changing neighborhood? We explored these questions through Playback Your Story. Below, you can watch, read and listen to students, residents, and workers in and around Gallaudet University. These stories weave together our connections and aim to inspire us all to cross the street to interact with one another and get to know the roots of our neighborhood. The interviews led up to a final event created by artist John Johnson and Playback Theatre on Gallaudet’s campus in Fall of 2016.
Zachary Abbott studies the mapping of the brain. And if you come across him on the 99-acre campus of Gallaudet, he’ll take the time to explain what he values about life at the university and deaf culture and community. As a PhD student there, Zachary knows that outsiders need some guidance.
Saleem Abdullah is a strength and conditioning coach at Tony’s boxing Gym. He shares his story of his dedication to the youth in the Trinidad community and the growing numbers of outsiders who are moving in and discovering the jewels of this changing neighborhood. Saleem also uses boxing analogies to guide the youth in his community.
Tiasha and DJ tell us a story that reaches back to Abraham Lincoln and the founding of the Gallaudet University, and why they believe that collaboration with surrounding businesses and collaboration and other Universities is still needed so that people can understand the rich history of the Deaf community.
Keith Doane shares his story in College Hall, the oldest building on the Gallaudet campus. He discusses the evolution of the community around the campus, and predicts stronger connections in the future between the campus community and the outside world.
When a butcher from Union Market wanted to find smoked tongue, he walked around the loading docks and came upon an African Market. Gino Gil’s family market sells meats and fresh produce; giant yams from Ghana; rice; and a variety of other ingredients. Obeng International Wholesaler/Retailer has been in this corner of the market for 25 years, but it is being displaced by new development and will have to close its doors within months.
DJ and Tiasha tell us a story that reaches back to Abraham Lincoln and the founding of the Gallaudet University, and why they believe that collaboration with surrounding businesses and collaboration and other Universities is still needed so that people can understand the rich history of the Deaf community.
The new Union Market has a modern shine and airy feel. People drink coffee and cocktails on stools and check their phones. Go to the back corner and you’ll find Harvey’s Market Full Quality Service Meats; Marty Kaufman, the co-owner, is behind the counter. He has his feet in two worlds: the old gritty wholesale market that served Ivy City, and the new market. He’s a traditional butcher who’s proud of his old-school approach to meat, one he learned decades back when the market was “a world of its own.”
If you drive a truck for the market wholesalers, or just drive a lot, you need to know where to go for tires—or rims, wheels, or batteries. Macs Tire Service been open for over thirty years, providing thoughtful, welcoming, and well-priced auto services 24/7. For the last decade, Pam Konde has been the manager and watched change come to the neighborhood.
Antonio Newkirk has worked in the Facilities Department at Gallaudet University for six years. As a hearing person, he shares thoughts about his continued immersion in and growing understanding of Deaf Culture. He also shares stories of the sports teams and campus parties where you literally “feel the beat” from the music’s vibrations.
Kurt Ramborger is a professional chef who has appeared on the TV series Chopped, and was the very first deaf contestant. He’s seen the Trinidad neighborhood evolve since his days as a college student at Gallaudet University, up to today, when his own kids attend the high school on campus. He also mentions the growth of his specialty “the food industry” in the H street area.
Cassie Roberson is a hair stylist to celebrities (including Marlee Matlin) at the same times as she keeps up her studies at Gallaudet. She shares her pursuits as an entrepreneur in DC and gives us a glimpse into the off-campus life of a Gallaudet University student.
Aleksandr Rozentsvit is from New York and explains that he values being a member of the Gallaudet community because the barriers that he faces as Deaf person are almost completely nonexistant here.
Matthew Sampson is a graduate student at Georgetown University who works on the Gallaudet campus. He explains Sign-centric Design, discusses the newer buildings on campus, and revels in his love of urban design and the beauty of the juxtaposition between old and the new.
There’s something about the bus: It gives riders a chance to really look at the streets as they go by, permitting them to see a neighborhood in detail. Karin Schierhold is an architect working on the new restaurants in he Hecht Warehouse takes the D-4 to work, and says the bus ride has opened her eyes to the entire community.
DC Sharp is maybe the noisiest place in Union Market. There’s a grinder and stones to get the knife blades just right. On any given day, you’ll see one of two brothers working to sharpen a knife; on this day, we meet Derek Swanson, who shares the basics of being a cutler and his view of the market.
Real estate agent Maceo Thomas can see a lot from his desk: He sets up centrally in Union Market, affording him a great view of people coming and going. He checks listings on homes or apartments that are free to rent; if there’s a big house available, he’ll offer to show it to students from Gallaudet University for a group house, in an effort to connect with the community.
When David Young begins to talk about his family’s garden apartment in Ivy City, he sees the streets as clearly as he did when he walked through them as a child His warm memories of a changed neighborhood include running with his friends by the fences of Gallaudet University, wanting to climb them but knowing exactly what his mother would have to say about that.
Jeffrey Young works and trains at Tony’s Boxing Gym on Mt Olivet Road. He shares his story of passion for boxing and his involvement in youth development. Showing off a belt he won in a recent match, he proves he’s still got plenty of fight left in him.
John Johnson is a native Washingtonian and is the founder and creator of Verbal Gymnastics Theater Company. Johnson has worked as a drama therapist with a partnership with DC’s Youth Services Center. Some of Johnson’s accolades include being named one of DC’s “30 under 30”, as an emerging performance artists by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities. He has also been a two-time Artist Fellow of the DCCAH. Other honors include participation in Sounds of the Underground DC HIP HOP Theatre festival one act plays. In 2015-2016, Johnson contribution to American University’s WAMU 88.5 program called Anacostia Unmapped, which he captures the narratives of local residents in the rapidly changing communities “East of the River” in Washington D.C. Johnson has been exploring an improvisational form of theatre/storytelling called Playback, most recently performed at the Kennedy Center in September 2016.
John Johnson’s creative team also includes: Katie Davis (interviewer/editor), Flawn Williams (audio engineer), Jason Anderson (Videographer), and Jamil Johnson (Videographer/editor).
Beth Ferraro was born in Gilbertsville, a suburb of Philadelphia. Ferraro contributed to a start up photography magazine called Proof and worked as a photo & editorial assistant at Flaunt magazine, until getting hired at Newsweek, where she served as the only photo editor in the magazine’s DC office. Along the way she also worked as a screen printer and as a photographer for surf retreats in Byron Bay, Australia. For almost six years, Beth worked as a creative director and curator at Honfleur Gallery & Vivid Solutions Gallery, where she focused on art exhibitions and community engagement. Since the fall of 2014, she has been freelancing as a photo editor, photographer, curator, and public art consultant.
The project was developed through a series of workshops with local leaders, residents and businesses.
Matthew Sampson, Ally Mumm, Keith Doane, Tom Baldridge, Christopher Hoffman, Karin Schierhold, Greg Smith, Cho Smith, Daniel Kzhz, and Kati Mitchell.