SoHo Memory Project and Gesso Release New Audio Walking Tour Honoring SoHo’s Artistic Past and Present
Tour Narrator and Media Spokesperson: Yukie Ohta, SoHo Memory Project Founder
Launching August 2021
New York, NY: Gesso, a Brooklyn-based audio AR company, has teamed up with the SoHo Memory Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the history of SoHo, to launch a free audio AR walking tour – available starting August 23 via the Gesso app on iOS and Android.
This geo-responsive audio walking tour offers listeners a new way to experience the neighborhood’s vibrant artistic legacy. An interactive map and GPS-triggered audio stories guide the listener’s route, connecting historical details embedded in the neighborhood’s streets with memories of living in SoHo from artists, authors, and lifelong SoHo resident Yukie Ohta, Founder of the SoHo Memory Project. This art walk through SoHo is narrated by Yukie Ohta and features interviews from other artists including Ken Hiratsuka, Richard Haas, Charles Leslie (of Leslie-Lohman Museum), and Joyce Kozloff.
Said Ohta, “As SoHo’s memory keeper, I look after traces of our neighborhood’s past, to keep them from disappearing forever. By remembering, by repopulating the past, we become closer to our cities. By preserving artists’ SoHo, by understanding how artists created a community within these 26 blocks, the neighborhood becomes a character in its own story.”
The audio tour was inspired by the SoHo Memory Project’s efforts to preserve SoHo’s past for present and future generations and to serve as a resource for documenting the community’s collective memory over the years.
The Experience / Using the App:
All listeners need are headphones and the Gesso app.
Audio retrospective meets interactive memoir on this tour that combines history and memory. After pressing start, listeners begin walking to uncover audio stories narrated by Ohta that encourage slow observation, mindful exploration, and a newfound appreciation for all the delightful details hiding in plain sight that have contributed to SoHo’s ever-changing identity. Stops include Housing Works Bookstore, Ken Hiratsuka’s sidewalk carvings, Judd Foundation, Vesuvio Bakery, and more.
As SoHo navigates a period of recovery in the face of accelerating challenges and changes in its commercial and residential landscape, it feels particularly important to understand the resilient history of the neighborhood. Rooted in ingenuity, cooperation, and grit, SoHo’s storied history will help contemporary listeners imagine the neighborhood’s future.
In an interview, Yukie can discuss:
The collaboration between The SoHo Memory Project and Gesso – what drew her to the partnership and what she hopes listeners will gather from the tour
Why a self-led audio tour of SoHo is particularly meaningful during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
Contemporary challenges facing SoHo (rezoning debates, significant decreases in retail rents, etc.) and what we can anticipate for the future based on the neighborhood’s past
More on the other contributors to the Gesso audio tour; who they are and what they have contributed to SoHo’s history
1. The Gateway to SoHo
2. Houston Street
3. Jersey Street Alley
4. Housing Works Bookstore
5. Crosby Lunch
6. Yukie’s Old Loft
7. Ken’s Sidewalk Carving
9. Post Office
10. FOOD Restaurant
11. Vesuvio Bakery
12. The 420 Gallery Building
13. Artist-in-Residence Sign
14. Loading Dock
16. Donald Judd’s Studio
17. Zoe’s House
18. Original location of the New Museum
19. Back to the Wall
About The SoHo Memory Project
The SoHo Memory Project is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to celebrating the history of SoHo as a New York City neighborhood. Serving as a digital archive of the community’s collective memory, the SoHo Memory Project’s mission is to preserve SoHo’s past so that present generations understand the neighborhood’s rich history and can make informed decisions as they come together to shape its future. Yukie Ohta, Founder of the SoHo Memory Project, has spent the past decade documenting SoHo as a community, a neighborhood made up of a wide variety of people, families, businesses, community groups, and creative activity.
Gesso is an audio AR platform that inspires meaningful explorations of the world through immersive, cinematic audio experiences. Gesso empowers listeners to feel a sense of belonging and empathy wherever they may go in the world. Through Gesso’s location-relevant platform, listeners can explore places, both new and familiar, while listening to informational and inspirational audio content. Prompting introspection, reflection and consideration, Gesso is a vehicle for listeners to consider the experience of being human through spatial audio storytelling. In addition to producing original audio experiences, Gesso works with organizations and individual creators to host their stories in the form of audio-centric, immersive media.