Category Archives: Audio Guides
Audio and multimedia guides in the tradition of the best radio storytelling, created for the city of Warsaw, Poland
Marie (Maria in Polish) Skłodowska-Curie is another child of the city who (like Chopin) left to make it in Paris. She’s arguably the most famous female in the sciences, the winner of not just one, but two Nobel prizes – one in Physics, one in Chemistry. One of my favorite details about her is that she refused to see any danger in the substances she was studying in stubborn pursuit of the good they could do. Her fingers were blackened with radiation burns because she wouldn’t wear gloves – she touched these elements daily with her bare hands.
Warsaw launched a year-long celebration of Curie, commissioning works from local artists and media-makers – murals covering the sides of neighborhood buildings, interactive atomic bicycles, sculptures, and even a multimedia audio guide from myself and Anna Piwowarska.
Check it all out here.
For this project, Anna and I wanted to bring the best of what documentary and radio features can do – intimate and memorable storytelling, provocatively mixed sound, meaningful musical scoring – to an audio tour. The result is a kind of historical documentary with direction, a walk guided by good stories and aural atmospheres.
Warsaw is in many ways the perfect place for an audio tour. It’s a city with a tumultuous history, a violent past where struggle nearly wiped away the visual evidence of entire eras. Our project guides visitors to a disappeared city that may be invisible to the eye, but it can be resurrected for the ear. Morever, Chopin’s Polish story is inherently a dramatic one. His entire childhood and youth was spent in Warsaw, it’s where he grew up before left his homeland forever – so the emotion in these places is palpable. Each stop evokes the inspiration of a very talented child and the sorrow of a past that can never be revisited.
Here’s 3 bits of the tour to sample:
1. An excerpt from Stop 3, Palac Kazimierzowski – the place where Chopin spent many of his secondary school years, and the time of his life when he overheard sounds that would change his music forever.
2. Stop 5, Sisters of the Visitation Church – a quick, fun stop at the place where young Chopin had the privilege of playing as his school’s official organist – and apparently he used to get a bit carried away with the role.
3. An excerpt from Stop 11, the Wessel Palace/Saxon Post Office – the place where Chopin got on a carriage out of Warsaw so he could make it big in Paris. He didn’t know then that he’d never return to his homeland again – at least not all of him (his body was buried in Paris, but his heart was smuggled back to Warsaw).