It has been over a decade since the events of September 11, 2001. But we are still seeking answers to fundamental questions about 9/11:
What exactly happened?
Why did it happen?
And what does it mean?
People have attempted to answer these urgent questions in numerous ways: through official government reports, unofficial reports and analyses, in journalism, novels, films, and art.
But where can we go today to engage with all these diverse documents, research, discussions, and important representations of 9/11? Lacuna Stories will provide that space.
# HOW WILL LACUNA STORIES WORK?
Interpreting complex phenomena through various media is more important than ever in today’s information-rich world.
Lacuna Stories will be an exploratory, interactive online ecosystem where people can research and discuss significant historical events like 9/11 using the wide array of sources, including governmental, professional, academic, literary, and popular documents and responses.
Our key technological advance is designing software that allows users to annotate and "stitch together" all documents, images, videos, and audio on Lacuna Stories. You can highlight objects and elements that you find interesting, share those annotations with others, "stitch" them to other annotations, or store them in your "sewing kit" so you can easily return to those spots for future exploration.
Lacuna Stories doesn’t aim to construct a single narrative or a conclusive “truth” for historical events. Instead, Lacuna Stories encourages novel forms of creative work to inspire new stories about major events and topics like 9/11.
Lacuna Stories creates a community where everyone has a voice that can be heard and valued. In this way, we can learn something from everyone, from policymakers and academics, to people interested in conspiracy theories about 9/11.
Together, these voices represent an important dialogue; we are excited to create an inclusive space where fair, respectful, and rigorous debates can flourish.
We think making Lacuna Stories available to everyone, around the world, is really important.
That’s why we need people like you to rally around and help us do it. We have already raised some academic funding to get begin building the infrastructure and materials needed for classroom use.
With your support, we can make Lacuna Stories publicly available, free, and global.
# WHO ARE WE?
Lacuna Stories is led by a trio of techies, researchers, aficionados of popular culture, and history buffs.
Amir Eshel is a professor of Humanistic Studies, Comparative Literature, and German Studies at Stanford University. His award-winning books and articles focus on the literary and cultural imagination of modernity’s traumatic past, and the contemporary philosophical, political and ethical implications. Amir will be overseeing all the content curation, document selection and uploading, and maintenance of media.
Brian Johnsrud is a Rhodes Scholar with master’s degrees in literature, media studies, and anthropology. He is finishing his PhD on U.S. and Middle Eastern Cultural Relations. Brian will be developing much of the html and css for site.
We've also lined up an international team of curators, collaborators, developers, designers, engineers, authors, and academics who are all leaders in their field, whether it is design, journalism, scholarly publishing, or informational technology. All our team members have fully committed to this project, and with your support, we are ready to hit the ground running!
# JOIN US
We need your help to build our site and make it stable, open, and free to the world. We think you'll love the vast array of diverse resources we have begun to gather: popular films, novels, historical documents, archival material, videos, art, photography, and more.
To help us get these stories into the world and discussed, you can pledge anything -- from the cost of a movie ticket, up to a $1,000 sponsorship as an official site curator.
If you find the project exciting, interesting, or important, we’d be thrilled if you pledged. Word of mouth is great – we’d love it if you told your friends!
In whatever way, we want to create a site that makes an important change in the world, by making people revisit the past to imagine futures where we can avoid the catastrophes that plague the present.
Video filmed and edited by Pasha Croes. Illustrations by Ariana Koblitz. Narration by Brian Johnsrud. Music by Ercüment Subaşı.
Risks and challenges
Our project goals are grand: to collect and secure copyright for an even broader selection of resources, and to create a free, public interface to host and interact with them in relation to each other and also on their own terms. Sure, the idea is big. But so is the problem of needing a space to engage in constructive dialogues about 9/11.
We think this project is the first step to solving this urgent issue – and we hope you do as well.
This is a site for anyone interested in exploring complex historical events. Some may be interested in an academic study of primary sources. Others may want to examine particular pieces of primary evidenced. Some may want to read stories about 9/11, examine images, video, and other media. In other words, this is a site for everyone, and we strive to include content that is diverse, inclusive, and - most importantly - open access.
You do! To better serve our users, we see what resources users find interesting, what kind of links they make, and how we can help our users more easily find the content that interests them. But at all times you control and own what you write, the work you do on Lacuna Stories.
You become one of our first backers, with your name (or name you'd like associated with your donation) on our "Thanks to our supporters!" page on our website. In other words, all our users will know that you helped make this project come to light! You will also be on an email list of those first to know when the site goes live!
You will have first ACCESS to the PROTOTYPE site in early 2014, when it is still in prototype stage, and we will send you an email asking for your thoughts, suggestions, and how we can make the site even better for YOU!
You also become one of our FIRST, TOP-TIER backers, with your name (or name you'd like associated with your donation) on our "Thanks to our top supporters!" page on our website.
You gain EARLIEST ACCESS to the BETA site in early 2014, and become one of our PUBLIC CURATORS!
As a curator, we will allow you to have EXCLUSIVE editing privileges for some parts of the site. As a curator, you will receive Lacuna Stories gear like STICKERS, HATS, or T-SHIRTS as we start to roll them out for our limited number public curators!
You will also receive a personal thank you PHONE CALL from our team to get your input and suggestions. You become one of our first, top-tier backers, with your name (or name you'd like associated with your donation) on our "Thanks to our supporters!" page on our website.
Join us as our SPECIAL GUEST for our invitation-only Lacuna Stories LAUNCH PARTY in Palo Alto in late 2014! Take pictures with the staff and creators, and receive a signed Lacuna Stories shirt from the team at the event!
You gain EARLIEST ACCESS to the site in it's beta stage in early 2014, and become one of our PUBLIC CURATORS!
As a curator, we will send you EXCLUSIVE to parts of the site, certain content adding and editing privileges, and you will receive Lacuna Stories swag like STICKERS, HATS, or T-SHIRTS as we start to roll it out for our limited number public curators!
You will also receive a personal thank you PHONE CALL from our team to get your input and suggestions. You also become one of our first, top-tier backers, with your name (or name you'd like associated with your donation) on our "Thanks to our supporters!" page on our website.