The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has announced an exciting collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum.
“Telettrofono” is a 90-minute ‘soundwalk’ that blends fact and fable in a unique aural environment to tell the story ofAntonio Meucci—the true inventor of the telephone—and his wife Esterre—a mermaid lured by her love of sound and light to leave the sea for land.
The story, by poet Matthea Harvey, is a fanciful, imaginative account of how Esterre’s passions became Meucci’s muse, inspiring him to invent not only the telephone (what he called the ‘telettrofono’), but a marine telephone, the megaphone, a glass piano, effervescent fruit drinks, vegetable fiber candle wicks and a smokeless kerosene lamp. But when the stress of living on land took its toll on her mermaid body, sound and light became unbearably painful to her (the history books say she suffered from arthritis), so he invented a system to muffle noise on the railroad.
Mingling history and fantasy, Harvey discloses the ‘real’ reason Esterre refused to leave the house when it was moved across the street in 1881... And how do you explain the engraving on Meucci’s monument at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum of a man and mermaid...?
The script is augmented with music, mermaid songs and ambient sounds, and invented noises such as pianos of stone and glass created by sound artist Justin Bennett.
“Telettrofono” will be offered over four weekends—July 14-15, July 21-22, July 28-29 and August 4-5—from 12 noon to 7 p.m. For a $12 fee, ($10 for members), participants receive a map and an iPod from the stillspotting nyc kiosk in the Staten Island ferry terminal, then take the tour at their own pace. (Photo ID is required, last pick-up is 5 p.m.)
The self-guided soundwalk meanders along the Staten Island waterfront, leading from the shore inland through historic residential neighborhoods and industrial sites. Heard through a ‘present-day telettrofono,’ the story unfolds, changing listeners’ perspectives on sound and place, opening their ears and minds to secret stories, sounds and silent spots of Staten Island.
“Telettrofono” is part of the Guggenheim Museum’s two-year multidisciplinary project, stillspotting nyc. Throughout the city, ‘stillspots’—places were locals and visitors escape to find respite in ‘the city that never sleeps’—have been created by their team of architects, artists, designers, composers and philosophers and transformed into public tours, events or installations.
In conjunction with the stillspotting nyc program, on Saturday, August 4 from 2-4 p.m., the Guggenheim Museum is sponsoring a Family Day reception at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. Visitors will enjoy a family-friendly tour of the museum focusing on the life and work on Antonio Meucci, a reading by MS. Harvey, activities encouraging the invention of something “new and improved” and a presentation of children's songs. Refreshments will be served.Admission is free.
For more information visit www.Guggenheim.org/stillspotting or www.garibaldimeuccimuseum.org.