Ashes to Ashes​/​911 Memorial

from by Anne Deane Berman

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Just three months after the World Trade Towers were struck; Steve Berman, Dawn Haines and I went to New York City and interviewed many survivors and rescue workers about their personal recollections of the events surrounding the attacks. This is the concert version of the interactive 3D Virtual Reality experience (see below). It features personal, intimate memories of this historical event. The narrative design is centered on Billy Green, a fireman from Engine 6 who lost everyone in his company that day. Sorting through more than 20 hours of interviews, I created a kind of animated poetry (using digital audio techniques) which drives the experience. Writer Larry Tuch developed the interactive narrative design with us.


from Animated Poetry, track released January 1, 2002
The work was funded by Iowa State University and the Iowa Arts Counsel and installed or discussed at IEEE Conference: Germany, International Human Computer Interface Conference: Las Vegas, World Internet Conference: Madrid, IRCAM at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and International Super Computing. Several publications mention the piece, including the book, Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive Entertainment by Caroline Miller.

Many people contributed their time, expertise and experience in the making of this memorial. Ashes to Ashes was intended for performance in a six sided cave located at Iowa State University’s Virtual Reality Applications Center with Carolina Cruz-Neira in which images appear on the floor and ceiling, creating a fully immersive experience. The first performance of the prototype for Ashes to Ashes was held at the 2002 International Super Computing Conference.

For more information on the Virtual Reality component, visit or email me at


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