Many times in years past we've sought respite from New York City's steamy summer heat by hopping the ferry to Staten Island. The trip takes roughly 25 minutes, there's a breeze off the water, a stunning view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, and, it's free!
Now there's added incentive to head to the ferry's Whitehall terminal: Telettrofono, a fascinating collaboration between award winning poet Matthea Harvey and sound artist Justin Bennett, is live on Staten Island. Visitors to Telettrofono will be guided to points along the SI waterfront while listening to a 90-minute tale about the real — and not so real — life of inventor Antonio Meucci. Here's how Matthea Harvey describes the project:
This year I worked on making a soundwalk with amazing sound artist Justin Bennett for the Guggenheim architecture program--it's going on for four weekends (starting this weekend) in Staten Island.. . The piece is called Telettrofono and it's about Antonio Meucci (who invented the telephone decades before Bell) and his mermaid wife, Esterre. Meucci was an amazing nineteenth century inventor who made a marine telephone for divers to speak with ship captains, flame-retardant paint (which he advised using on your underwear) and improved effervescent drinks, among other things. The Telettrofono tour will introduce you to his real and imagined inventions, a mermaid chorus, a preset verifiable fact mode, and the story of a mermaid who leaves the water because of her love of how things sound aboveground.