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Posted - 08/01/2013
Winters Past: An audio memorial to the Northeast winters
snowflakes_macro_04_1.jpgWinters Past is an audio project from the collaborative team of Isaac Kestenbaum and Josie Holtzman.  They will use soundwalks and podcasts during the 2013-14 New England winter to create a sensory experience to preserve the memory of what winter once was. 

What does winter mean to you?  That's the question we've been posing to most of the people we interview.  I have been amazed by the responses this question has elicited.  One woman spoke about how much she enjoys the experience of being cold—and the small joy that is coming in from the outdoors and warming oneself by a hearth.  We've heard memories of sledding, ice skating and even ice sailing.

We conceived of our Invoking the Pause project as an audio memorial to winter in the Northeast—a way to preserve the memories of a season that is threatened by climate change.  One expert I recently spoke with told me, "people think more about climate change in the summer, because it's hotter, but we're really seeing the effects more in the winter."  It still snows, of course, and it still gets cold—but not really like it used to.

It's been interesting to do this work during a hot and humid New York summer.  Despite record-breaking heat, we've been immersing ourselves in winter.  We've created a website, spoken with farmers, naturalists, fishermen, scientists, historians, librarians, delved into local oral histories, and even interviewed a member of the Hudson River Ice Yachting club (2012 was the first winter that the Hudson didn't freeze enough for ice sailing).  We've explored towns up and down the Hudson Valley and in Connecticut.

Because our project is so tied to the season, we won't be releasing our audio pieces until November.  In a month or so, we'll officially launch our website with a nicely designed logo and take to social media to get a wider range of stories and memories, and hopefully start building momentum and interest in the project.  Of course, we've already started playing around with the audio and trying to come up with a signature "sound" for these pieces.  Here is a teaser for the series: Winters Past Soundcloud Promo