The Magic Story Table by JD Beltran + Scott Minneman has been traveling all over the world, creating portraits of cities through the stories told by their inhabitants.
The Magic Story Table, a novel, cutting-edge, interactive story-telling experience, debuted at 826 Valencia in San Francisco in March 2009. The result of a collaboration between JD Beltran, Scott Minneman, Dale McDonald, author Stephen Elliott, high school students from John O'Connell High School, and the 826 Valencia Writing Center, this interactive artwork introduced an entirely new form of storytelling. Viewers explored, discovered, and immersed themselves in stories throughout the 49-square-mile geography of San Francisco as well as all over the world by interacting with a large interactive “story table” that fuses maps, text, images, sound, interactivity, and even the storytellers’ own voices.Visitors were able to 'fly' over San Francisco and all over the world by tilting the table and then, upon coming upon a location with an icon indicating a story, they could 'zoom' into that locale by turning the table clockwise like a giant dial, whereupon the story would appear, told in the voice of the storyteller.
Beltran and Minneman have been commissioned to travel to these cities, spend time collecting stories from the inhabitants, and then create these story portraits to be experienced on the Magic Story Table. Thus far, the Magic Story Table has traveled to San Francisco, California, Cleveland, Ohio, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Bishkek, Krygyzstan. Future venues in the works include Sydney, Australia, Toronto, Canada, and New York, New York.