I examined The Roaring Twenties created by Emily Thompson and Scott Mahoy. The site allows its users to interactively explore the historical sounds of New York City. The project deeply relies on archives and history. The authors used “over 600 unique complaints about noise around 1930 while reproducing over 35 pages of these materials. It also includes fifty-four excerpts of Fox Movietone newsreels, early sound experiments that at once captured and technologically remediated the sounds of New York City, as well as hundreds of other photographs and print materials.” Through the three interfaces of the site space, time, and sound, the user can feel like they are actually in New York City.
After launching the project and clicking on the Sound interface, we see vintage inspired illustration with the title “City Noise Sources”. Underneath the title, there are eight categories stemming from the sources which are traffic, transportation, building operation, homes, streets, harbor & river, collection deliveries, and miscellaneous. Each category is broken down again into more subcategories, to list the noises in each category which the user can hover over to listen to the different noises.
In the Space interface, a vintage map of New York City is displayed with four different types points on the map including noise complaint, noise complaint with documents, complainant location, and newsreels. This allows the user to find and see the locations of the sounds and noise complaints. Some points will even have information boxes if you hover over them.
In the Time interface, there is an interactive timeline with seven different types of points:noise complaint, noise complaint with documents, news reel, NY Times, Noise Abatement Commission,magazine, and misc documents. The user can explore different years by as well as find information regarding specific points in time, and even learn about people on the Noise Abatement Commission and even see real News Articles.
This site was extremely organized and easy to navigate. The authors purposefully made their site to have the user feel immersed in New York City and to be hearing the sounds as if they were there, but they also made the site with clues such as the Google logo brightly displayed in the lower left corner of the map to bring the user back to reality. They did this to remind the user that “access to the past is always mediated through the technologies and inquiries of the present” and so that the user could form his/her own ideas from the information and not get caught up in the noises. The authors saw the importance of living in the present and the use of technology to further our thinking. The project is successful because although it allows to user to immerse themselves in the project, they aren’t completely in a virtual reality and rather can tell that they are navigating through the noises through a computer.
(I tried to add pictures of the site, but they wouldn’t upload for some reason)