wabiStory is an experiment in a new kind of placemaking. The app allows selected authors, artists, and musicians to leave small (90 second) recordings in physical locations for other people to find.
This platform empowers artists to engage in a vital, uniquely concrete dialog about the significance of place. Fiction writers can record stories that add layers of narrative to a vacant building; poets can leave verse in a forgotten corner of an old park; songwriters can lay ballads down on a street corner.
Andrew Porter (fiction), Mark Menjivar (social practice artist), and myself (poetry) have completed projects already. New projects by Jenny Browne (poetry), Nicolette Good (music), and Pak Sheung Chuen (conceptual artist) will begin soon. I plan to organize public bike tours of sites in and around downtown, with the contributors when possible.
Contributors record their work through the app while standing in a place that they find meaningful (wabiStory sets no limitations on site locations). Once the recording is uploaded, it can only be accessed by other people standing in the same location. When users listen to these pieces, they are connected to the author not just through the work, but through the physical presence of place.
Each site created by a contributor can hold numerous recordings, by one or more authors. The app shows users a list of nearby sites, and provides a map for each one with a suggested route. Users can also follow authors or sites to easily see when new recordings of interest have been added.
Contributors join wabiStory by invitation, so that a collection of high-quality work across multiple disciplines will draw curious listeners into the city's unique places. It's part geocaching, part literary magazine, part site-specific installation.
Currently, wabiStory is available for free in Apple's App Store, and as a cross-platform web app. A version for Android is being tested and should be released later this year.
Funded by San Antonio, TX (July 2013)