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Long before Henry Hudson’s arrival in 1609, Manhattan or Manaháhtaan, as originally named by the Indigenous Lenape people, was a place of gathering and exchange amongst diverse nations. Today, Broadway runs along a portion of the original matrix of trails that connected Manaháhtaan to the broader northeast region and the Great Lakes. Artist Beatrice Glow and The Wayfinding Project at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University partnered with Alecz Inca of Highway 101, ETC (Experiential Tech Community) to build Mannahatta VR, an interactive virtual reality experience which brings together the past and present of one Broadway block.
This ongoing project is growing through conversations with Native culture bearers, ecologists, artists, educators and technologists. In the process, we ask ourselves how can we expand knowledge of Indigenous Manhattan? What does a sustainable Indigenous future look like? How do we ethically create a historically palpable digital storytelling experience? We approach the virtual reality experience not as a final product, but a platform for our collective envisioning that has the potential to evolve into an immersive oral history archive.
Mannahatta VR was a supplement to Lenapeway, an installation that was on 24-hour view in the street-level windows of 715 Broadway (at Washington Place) from October 10, 2016 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day) to December 9, 2016. The location of the installation, which was viewable from the sidewalk 24/7 and was cosponsored by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the A/P/A Institute, marks the intersection of the main Lenape trail and a side-trail that traverses through present-day Washington Square Park.
Saturday, February 17, 2018, 1pm, 4pm and 6pm sessions at the Park Avenue Armory as part of “Looking Back | Looking Forward: Culture in a Changing America,” a Conversation Series event co-organized by The Aspen Institute Arts Program & ArtChangeUS
Monday, November 14, 2016 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU | RSVP here
Monday, December 12, 2016 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU | RSVP here
Installation view of Lenapeway
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM | RSVP here
Lenapeway, an installation by artist Beatrice Glow and The Wayfinding Project at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, was on 24-hour view in the street-level windows of 715 Broadway (at Washington Place) from October 10, 2016 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day) to December 9, 2016. The location of the installation, which was viewable from the sidewalk 24/7 and is co-sponsored by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, marks the intersection of the main Lenape trail and a side-trail that traverses through present-day Washington Square Park.
To enrich the installation, Glow and The Wayfinding Project have partnered with NYU Grounds Manager George Reis to create a tour of NYU’s native plant gardens some of which are situated along the original Lenape trail. This hour-long excursion and sensorial experience begins at 715 Broadway—the site of the installation—and takes guests to four of NYU’s eleven native plant gardens and through Washington Square Park.
The landscape rendering featured on the centerpiece lightbox was by Markley Boyer / The Mannahatta Project / Wildlife Conservation Society from research described in Eric W. Sanderson's Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, 2009). Lightbox design: Abbott Miller, Pentagram Design for the Museum of the City of New York.
Installation view of Lenapeway.
This short clip shows the installation process of installing Lenapeway for Indigenous Peoples' Day.
This early version of Mannahatta VR's trailer was shown in the window of 715 Broadway as part of Lenapeway.
Screenshot of MannahattaVR
Equirectangular screenshot of the "future" scene from MannahattaVR.
Equirectangular screenshot of Mannahatta VR.