Telling a City’s Story

The Athenians had an oath for someone who was about to become a citizen. They had to swear that ‘I shall leave the city not less but more beautiful than I found it.’

-Richard Rogers, Architect

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that it is impossible to observe something without in some way fundamentally changing that which you are observing. I have a friend who recently completed an academic thesis regarding measurement as a concept with many facets, and in the context of a conversation about her thesis, an idea I had came up.

I’ve wanted for some time to launch a podcast that tells the story of my home, the City of Indianapolis. Why? Simple. I love my home, and I’ve noticed that in my humble opinion, it happens to have an incredible story to tell. Early on in my conceptualization of what this podcast would look [sound?] like, I decided that I didn’t want to tell that story myself, but give the city a means to tell its own story.

That may sound like semantics, and in some way maybe it is, but I think my heart was in the right place. I have a desire to step out of the way of the story, to give others a space and time to tell their story. And yet, it is somehow impossible to completely extricate myself from the story.

A podcast can feature writers, entrepreneurs, chefs, poets, musicians, public figures, historians, teachers, and the like, who all have a part of the story to tell of our city. And yet that very act of story-hosting, question asking, observation, changes the story.

The reality is that creating this podcast, from it’s current stages of concept and preparation to the point it begins to pop up in the iTunes feeds of listeners, becomes a part of the story it is telling. And so the question becomes not will this affect the story but how will this affect the story? It is a responsibility which should be taken into consideration by any storyteller, whether they be a novelist or evening news anchor, or in my case, the humble podcast host.

The narratives we tell with our lives, work, and art affect all of those who hear them in some way. It is my hope that in this way, the space I create for the tellers of my city’s story will contribute positively to that story.

Look for the Indy Podcast to launch mid-Autumn 2015. It will be available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and other podcasting mediums.

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