These Walls Could Talk

  • Deadline:
    April 22, 2011, midnight
  • Location:
    Virtual Tour at American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, New York, 10024, US

I am a graduate student and am looking for contributors who'd be interested in creating audio inspired by dioramas in Culture Halls of the American Museum of Natural History. This project, titled "These Walls Could Talk", is part of my thesis work which deals with public intervention in museums. 
Below is a project description: 
These Walls Could Talk is an attempt to reinterpret the historical narratives found in our history museums, through alternative audio-tours of the the American Museum of Natural History. These original audio-pieces are inspired by specific dioramas in the Culture Halls of the museum. These halls contain depictions of people throughout history and from around the world. However, as the “cultures” which they purport to represent continue to change, the dioramas remain static. These Walls Could Talk is a collaboration in which contributors from diverse backgrounds give new voices to these characters through approaches including fiction, auto-biography and archival sound.   
While the project is meant to be an open platform for alternative interpretations, I've put together the following curatorial statement in an effort to give some cohesiveness to the pieces overall:
These Walls Could Talk (on-going) is a group of original audio-pieces by diverse contributors, related in their aim to re-imagine how the Culture Halls of the American Museum of Natural History connect to the present day. Using the static representations of the dioramas as back drops for new interpretations, the contributors to TWCT offer us the opportunity to examine the multiplicity of meanings behind these exhibits.        
The frozen representations of the dioramas, juxtaposed against the varied notions of history, serve as a reminder of how historical narratives are shaped–retrospectively by museums, and presently through mediated news sources and foreign intervention.

Currently I am working on a website for the project, which also functions as a mobile-friendly platform for sharing the audio. This can be found here: 
I hope to submit the overall body of work to some festivals once a representative sample of work has been contributed.
While I unfortunately can't offer pay for this project, contributors retain rights to their work. For more information see the cc license associated with the site. 
If you'd like to discuss further, please email me at gbixby21[at]

Scott Peterman May 2 2011 09:26Reply

Recently submitted a few works to this platform with a collaborator. A wonderful idea, full of both playfulness and deeply serious philosophical questions. Highly recommend participating.