Mobile History Project Aims to Confront Soho’s Present With Its Past

May 11, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Yukie Ohta, a writer and artist who has been archiving the history of Soho over at Soho Memory Project since 2011, wants to create a mobile station that will travel through the neighborhood and give passersby a glimpse of what used to be there.

Ohta, who grew up in Soho in the 1960s and well into the 1980s, remembers a time before the invasion of Ted Baker and Prada boutiques; a time when Soho was a family community. But, because there is no designated society meant to preserve and archive the neighborhood’s history, she’s taken the task upon herself. Ohta has launched a Kickstarter to create a mobile historical society that will rove Soho’s streets and teach people about what the neighborhood once was.

Ohta wants it to be interactive, so she’s even using a Viewmaster and building a smell station to capture the sights and smells “from rural farmland to high-end retail hub.” Understanding the past, Ohta emphatically says, “will inform how we all shape its future.”

(Photo: Tommy Wooh)