One Square Mile: 10,000 Voices is an interactive documentary experience that layers voices from Manzanar's past and present over the physical landscape. It consists of audio augmented reality installations at Manzanar National Historic Site and Little Tokyo Historic, as well as this website.
Audio recordings are geolocated across Manzanar and Little Tokyo; using a mobile device and headphones, participants are immersed in a soundscape that responds dynamically to their location. Each person's experience will be entirely unique depending on when they go, where they go, and how they choose to explore.
As people wander, they can also record their own reflections to add to the project, creating an evolving tapestry of collective storytelling. By empowering people to share their own experiences, we invite them to consider historical materials not as fixed didactic texts, but rather as starting points for discussion, reflection, and further investigation.
Furthermore, by combining participants' voices with a wide variety of historical and contemporary audio—from interviews with Paiute-Shoshone elders to WWII news recordings to Manzanar Pilgrimage musical performances—we also hope to illuminate physical spaces as dynamic, democratic, and richly layered archives in their own right.
This project would not be possible without the Japanese American community's decades of organizing to recognize and document the experiences of detainees, or the crucial oral history work of Densho and the National Park Service. We hope it will contribute to the ongoing work of educating the public about this legacy and its relevance to present-day injustices, including those related to racial discrimination, incarceration, and immigration.
This project is built on Roundware, an open-source software platform for interactive audio. For more information, click here.