I had an idea for a Cincinnati Streetcar sound installation. I developed a huge interest in sound installations a couple of years ago and even created a couple of them. And last summer, when I felt discouraged that the Queen City might not have her downtown improvement, I wanted to create a sound installation, streetcar or not, that would glorify this mode of transit. This installation would be my contribution to the city I've called home since 2007.
Now, how to fund it.
A couple of months ago I saw a University of Cincinnati grant called the Graduate Summer Undergraduate Mentoring program. For this grant, I must "mentor undergraduate students for an 7-week summer research or other scholarly activity experience related to your thesis or dissertation work." I had a plan in place: an undergrad could help me create this work. Here was my proposal.
"During this seven-week program, I wish to work with an undergraduate in creating and implementing a Cincinnati-specific public sound art installation entitled “Next Stop.” The downtown Cincinnati streetcar (the shelters for the streetcar stops will be completed during the first quarter of 2012) will be the basis for this music composition/installation. Prerecorded snippets of narration along with a specific musical anecdote will be created for each individual stop, and these recordings will either be replayed at each streetcar shelter or inside the streetcars themselves. These individual recordings would in part create a whole musical structure, specifically unifying this piece into a complete variation form. The result of this installation will educate Cincinnatians and outside tourists about Cincinnati’s downtown historic locations while also creating musical compositions explicitly for the city. The undergraduate would help in the research of the project, mainly reading and discussing articles about the history and implementation of public sound art, researching and studying musical variation forms, and discussing with public officials about the actualization of this project. Furthermore, the student will be asked to creatively participate as much as possible, whether it be through composing musical variations for the stops, performing the musical variations, narrating, recording each piece, and/or constructing the device on which the musical variations will be heard."
I hope this works. In the meantime, an undergrad picked my proposal and we get to start work on this in June. Hurrah!
The only snag I've run into so far is that the young undergrad wants to name the installation (The) Streetcar Variations whereas I like Next Stop. Hm. It's my concept. What do you think? What title works better? Should they be combined?