And now more about A Park Of One’s Own taking place Saturday, May 16th at WSP at 3 p.m.
A Q&A with creator Carla Kasumi follows:
How did A Park Of One’s Own come about? What led you to the idea?
I’ve been working with audio-guided walks for a while. The first one I did was back in Rio, in 2013. I took participants through the neighborhood I grew up in, recreating the first time I went out alone when I was six years old. It ended in a local playground. I enjoy creating experiences that require presence and time. I also love being told and telling stories. With an added twist that these stories engage not just the mind, but your body and senses as well (at least, that’s the hope if I’m doing it right!) So far, the stories and characters have required the walks be taken alone, each participant at their own pace, experiencing the audio walk on their own. For my next one, I’m playing with the idea of a paired audio walk. It will be interesting to see so many people taking the walk on Saturday at the same time. I’m intrigued to see what happens!
What can people expect – if you can give a hint – from the audio tour?
I tell a few stories that were inspired by my time at Washington Square Park. Since April 2014, I’ve been going to the park almost every week and all the writing, at least the first draft, was done there. For the past year, the park murmured to me and the audio-walk is my version of what it told me.
I assume the tour cannot loop through the entire park – do you focus on one or two sections?
Yes, for some reason, I always felt more comfortable in the west side of the park. Particularly the southwest lawn, just off the fountain. But I did walk all around it; the east side just never spoke to me.
Does the tour encompass history, stories, and/or something else about the park?
There’s very little information and facts. But hopefully, by seeing the park through the eyes (and voices) of these characters, participants will come away with a new way of looking at the park.
How did the title come about?
It comes from Virginia Woolf’s book, A room of one’s own. In the book, written in 1928, Woolf talks about the difficulties women faced if literature was their chosen occupation. She says, to write, a woman must have 500 a year and a room of one’s own, in other words, financial freedom and time. To me, it speaks of our need to make our own way in search of what we desire, despite social restraints and self-censorship, finding the courage of true choice.
You said you have been working on this for a year. Wow!
Yep. Since I’m new to New York (I moved here in April of last year), I wanted to experience a whole year of seasons and transformations.
People who do not have smart phone – audio capability are sort of out of luck?
No! I’m only recently bought (succumbed to?) my first smartphone. It does come in handy. But I totally understand people who don’t have them – for whatever reason. The audio will be available to download from 1pm on Saturday. Of course, having some form of mp3 playing device is unavoidable, I’m afraid.
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Don’t forget: Download audio on May 16th, meet at Arch at 3 p.m. where Carla will be holding white tulips. And it’s free!