David Al-Ibrahim's Calling Thunder explores the untold history of New York through
spatial audio and mobile VR. Audiences will be transported through a series of interactive
soundscapes that compare today’s urban cacophony to the Lenape's vibrant ecosystems HenryHudson would have encountered in 1609. The narrative considers Manhattan’s past to address its future: unearthing wonder in the green pockets of our city. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience mobile VR and walkthrough a demo of the program with its creator, David Al-Ibrahim.
This privileged opportunity allows participants to visualize and hear the sounds of nature in Mannahatta during the time the Lenape Indian tribes inhabited the island. According to naturalists, “Manhattan in the 17th century had more ecological communities per acre than Yellowstone.” Using 360 audio technology with field recordings produced by collaborator Bill McQuay and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library, Al-Ibrahim creates an immersive and memorable learning experience. Collect Park and Inwood Hill Park come to life as they were before the Dutch settled the island in 1624, transporting the sounds and sights of katydids, bullfrogs and crows undisturbed by honking taxis, squealing breaks and the ubiquitous city worker jackhammering the streets.