ABOUT UNHEARDOF STL
UnHeardOf STL is a new web app that engages downtown St. Louis visitors by allowing them to listen to fascinating stories from St. Louis’ history and culture in the exact places they transpired.
The free app consists of 10 points of interest spread across a map of downtown St Louis. Each point contains the story of a person or event from St Louis history, from fictionalized mound builders to civil rights figures; the audience hears directly from these figures, in the first person, as actors and cinematic sound design recreate their stories and lives. Each story will last approximately 5 minutes, and will reflect diverse viewpoints and experiences.
In collaboration with Renegade Tours STL, we will hold a launch event May 18-19, 2019, with guided tours so that people can learn about the app and how it works. We will also collaborate with DEAF, Inc to provide innovative translations of the stories for deaf and hearing impaired users, as well as provide interpretation at the live events.
This project is aimed at listeners who want a deeper understanding of the city of St Louis. That will likely include St Louis area residents seeking a richer background on their own city, tourists, families, and educators. While traditional histories might focus on commerce, explorers, and politics, UnHeardOf STL aims to give life to stories that are often overlooked, including people of color, women, and others that are not typically given a focus. This will appeal to both tourists and residents who are more tech-savvy and are looking for unique and interesting options for learning about and exploring the city.
We believe that a young Bosnian American hearing the story of Stagger Lee has value; as does an African American grandmother hearing the story of Gratiot Prison. While those two people may never occupy the same physical space, and they may hear stories in the app that would never enter their worldview otherwise, through the stories in UnHeardOf STL they can gain a greater understanding of St Louis as it is today and how it got to be this way. Any current resident of (or visitor to) St Louis will learn something new, and hopefully apply a new context to their interactions with the diverse population around them.
St Louis is a tourist destination for people throughout the Midwest, and UnHeardOf STL will tap the market of visitors coming to the updated Arch grounds, Cardinals games, or the City Museum; as well as families traveling the country with St Louis as their own gateway on their journey. Furthermore, St Louis has a growing community of tech entrepreneurs, and a growing community of young tech-savvy workers, for whom an exciting and unique experience of downtown St Louis would be a huge draw.
UnHeardOf STL is an entirely new category of work for the St Louis region. This will be the first fully interactive audio map with story-based content inspired by our city’s narrative history. We developed a pilot version of the map in 2016, with very different content, and we are eager to create a full version of the project informed by elements from that pilot. Creating a map of this kind will create opportunities for other creators and artists in St Louis to collaborate with me to develop additional maps, themes, and locations in the future.