Walking Tour Offers A Musical History Of New York

Walking Tour Offers A Musical History Of New York
Arts & Culture

Digital Sanctuaries offers audio tours around Manhattan, where participants experience historical sites with a specific song.

Daniela Walker
  • 12 november 2013

What is the sound of the city? Cars honking? Birds tweeting? Drivers yelling? For three days in November, Digital Sanctuaries offered ‘soundwalks’ around Lower Manhattan to let New Yorkers experience different sounds of their city.

The public art project used a mobile app to take participants on a tour of 12 different sites, and at each site, a specially composed piece of music played to capture the cultural and historical references of the place.


The musical pieces by composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra and composer Roberto Juan Rodriguez, both of Electric Kulintang, are abstract compositions that were intended to create virtual sanctuaries of each locations. Places on the tour include an African Burial Ground, Pier 15, the New York Stock Exchange and Titanic Park.

Ibarra explained on their website:

We loved the idea of interacting with the audience in the space and calling upon history of sites, culture, and physical space to bring the public audience an experience that is both of respite, a sanctuary, and also a place to contemplate and explore creatively in a physical and virtual space.

These sonic tours through atypical Manhattan historical sites, lend a new perspective to the city. Said interactive designer Shankari Murali, a member of the  Digital Sanctuaries creative team:

Through this project, certain designated spaces within each city become time-travel zones that enable people to connect with the rich cultural histories embedded within the space they are standing in.

Digital Sanctuaries

Source: Digital Sanctuaries

Images: Digital Sanctuaries, Fast Co.Design

+mobile application
+new york city

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