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General Announcement

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Thursday, July 27th, 2006 @ 10:52 AM
Subj: [murmur] in South San Jose
From: (Katarina Collins)

Dear South San Jose community,

My name is Katarina Collins and I'm with the [murmur] project in Toronto, which will be coming to San Jose very soon. [murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people's personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot. Visit to hear a few Toronto stories - just click on the neighbourhood logo, then on the red dots on the map.

We've set up the project in a number of Toronto neighbourhoods as well as Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and soon Edinburgh, Scotland. The stories we record range from personal recollections to more "historic" stories, or sometimes both -- but always are told from a personal point of view, as if the storyteller is just out for a stroll and was casually talking about their neighbourhood to a friend. It's history from the ground up, told by the people who know -- voices that are often overlooked when the stories of cities are told. We know about the skyscrapers, sports stadiums and landmarks, but [murmur] looks for the intimate, neighbourhood-level voices that tell the day-to-day stories that make up a city. The park bench where somebody fell in love, a store that used to be something else, memories of a great fire#the stories that, when told, make people feel like they know their surroundings.

In two weeks, [murmur] will be coming to San Jose to participate in ZeroOne, "A Global Festival of Art on the Edge", part of the "Thirteenth International Symposium of Electronic Art". We are looking to connect with folks in San Jose who can share their stories and memories with us, which we'll then make available to everyone else by installing [murmur] signs in those location.

In order to make sure the project reflects San Jose, we are looking for people and organizations can help connect us with people who could meet up with us, casually, and record those memories. Your organization has roots in the community and is already connected to the kinds of people we hope will contribute to our project. Helping us to identify and contact potential storytellers will help us gain a more intimate knowledge of a city that is new to us, but home to you. We see our role as providing the tools to local communities so they can tell their own stories, and make sure those stories are represented on the streets and sidewalks.

We hope you'll be interested in helping make our San Jose project a success. Geographically, we're expecting our stories will focus on the city centre, where the festival is taking place, but we're open to other neighbourhoods if your organization can help us find a good number of storytellers there.

Apart from finding stories, we're also looking to partner with a local group(s) to ensure the project continues after we leave, so we could talk about that as well -- but our first priority is to simply find San Jose folks who can talk to us about their city. We look forward to hearing from you soon. You can get in touch with either myself or Gabe Sawhney, who will be coming to San Jose to coordinate the project in a couple of weeks. He can be reached by email at , or by phone at 408-426-8793 or 647-222-6677.


Katarina Collins

& the [murmur] team

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