110 Stories Interview with Brian August
September 13, 2011, 6:37 pm
Filed under: New York City, Projects, Technology | Tags: , ,

When it comes to the reckoning of a tragic event, some methods can be dubious indeed. Some people are content to keep a picture around their house or a note on the fridge to manifest their personal means of “Never Forget[ing].” Others feel a pull to extend their own thoughts and feelings by publishing poetry, publicly demonstrating, or proliferating a painting. Each of these and more were reactions to the obliteration of the Wold Trade Center towers and the people inside them on September 11, 2001. Of course, some efforts are less benign. Coming through in a fashion statement or a pathos-ridden television program, many implements frequently skirt the gap between commemoration and monetary or political capitalization. And it when it comes to the erection of public monument even more troubles arise.

Not even the most sensitive artist could design the physical structure that both captures the collective sentiment and remains stolidly democratic. To be sure, most people when confronted in depth would be hard-pressed to truly and succinctly describe what they feel and why it is that everyone should feel that way. My own personal feelings are skewed by the fact that I was 10-years-old when the Towers fell and on the West side of the country. Because of this ambiguity, most public memorials tend to be objective and monotone. This isn’t to disregard the enormous well of feeling that floods the mourner at the Vietnam Memorial. However, although the objective and perpendicular orientation of the confrontation in this example effectively  evokes a powerful notion, there is little room left for the profound public discourse that can only take place from a single person sharing their story in their own words.

New Yorker Brian August, with the help of augmented reality developers I-nnovation and doPanic, used novel technology to eliminate the paradox of mass memorial and personal mourning. Brian designed an application for the iPhone and the Android that places the images of Towers as the y stood before 2001 back into their rightful location. It is called “110 Stories.” The app works by orienting your smart phone to face the skyline where the towers once stood. Once located an outline of the Towers appear as they would from the perspective of where you are standing. You are then asked to take a picture, and to publish you are required to write a personal comment or “story” relating to the towers.

The design of this application enables a platform where people can compare and understand the innumerable combinations of connections people have/had with Ground Zero. Brian and his team create the outline of a memory and it is up to whoever wishes to fill it in. It is a monument that expands over a web and emphasizes the personal story rather than consolidating it. In the interview Brian discusses his inspiration and what motivated him to dedicate hours of life in creating a FREE app. He also shares some of his own memories and feelings about the World Trade Center. Please enjoy-


Lucas Green


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This project haunts me. Thank you! Kate

Comment by kate Brown-Wing

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