Join Local Projects for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a listening institution: 9/11 Memorial Museum, part of Creative Insights: Local Projects, Interactive Media Designers.
Male 1: You had this event. A third of the world watched it live. Another third heard about it within 24 hours. And it's a moment of unprecedented global witness. When we pitched the original idea for 9/11 Memorial Museum, it was this idea of a listening institution to understand those experiences all throughout the world. So the entire 911 Memorial and Museum are a vast master plan of complex that works together. There's World Trade Center One, which is the tallest tower in America to be completed in 2015.
And in between the two fountains, the Memorial is the museum and the entrance to the museum. Once you go into the museum we enter a space of memory, really going back in time. And from there you can get into the first piece we developed called' We Remember'. Which has all of these collaged audio portraits from visitors, all around the world, talking about their experiences on 9/11 itself. Female 1: We were actually in a meeting when someone barged in and said Oh my God, that plane has just crashed into the world trade center! Female 2: Trying to frantically get to a radio.
Male 2: When I heard it on the radio Male 3: Heard it on the radio Male 1: All of this of course is leveraging the fact that it's not quite history, but not quite current events. The fact that the museum doesn't necessarily know all the answers to the questions that 9/11 itself raises. As you move further you can oversee the entire archaeological space including what's called the slurry wall which is the original archaeological wall that withstood the Hudson River on the year, for the full year after the event itself.
There's a broad array of different ways that we tell the story, original footage an original what's called the trident steel which is the original exoskeleton of the World Trade Center. And for that we in a very special way project actual memories from the recovery onto the actual trident steel itself. As you make your way through, we've peppered together those physical artifacts with these audio chambers. These moments of reflection. Even just watching television on 9/11. Feeling that rush of grief and emotion. That deserves to be inside of the archives and to be remembered as part of the larger event itself.
As you can imagine, there actually wasn't very much footage. And almost no photographs were taken inside the tower. So everything we know about what happened, really happened inside of peoples own memories. That knit together, create this larger history of what actually happened in the towers on that day. There was an original concept by the designer, Michael Arad that the names on the memorial would appear almost random, undifferentiated. And that really was meant to be a statement about the nature of terrorism and a terrorist event. Like, these are not necessarily soldiers from World War II.
On the other hand, they are first responders, and in some ways its much more like a war memorial for those individual names There was both a level of interest but also discomfort and challenge around the ideas that the names wouldn't have any arrangement to them. And within that context we got involved, to author an algorithm, that would essentially create a names arrangement, that had some level of meaning, but would still look somewhat random. So we partnered with J.R. Thorpe and created. Through months and months of refinement, this names arrangement that places individuals in context of these different relationships they have.
The foundation went to all of the different family members, the next of kin, and asked them for requests in terms of who they would be located next to. You have this incredible scale of all these names and its so incredibly big and massive. And then also you can jump into any individual name and say well who's that? And to know more about them just person to person. The museum is part of the process of really digesting and understanding that evolving meaning of 9/11 as it moves forth. Into the future.