911 – Heartbeat of a Distributed Media Event

The shape of these monumental “Twin Books” refers directly to the iconic imagery of Sept. 11th, 2001.
Two dust covers filled with images that are sorted antichronologically tell in short the story of the books. The two main images and their place in time are provided on the spine of the object.
The iconic image of the burning Twin Towers is at the very heart of the media network analysis.
On the outside, the timeline is visible to indicate the distribution of the contents over time in the book.
Front cover of the first volume.
Stretching over 30 years, the narrative structure begins in 1982 and ends in 2012.
An example page from the factual narrative structure that uses information originally published through multiple news sources.
Every section that narrows down to the media event itself has its own title page to emphasise the changing speed of time at various points in the book.
The sudden impact of the first plane on the WTC 1 (north tower) was filmed only by accident by the French Naudet brothers while shooting a documentary on the New York Fire department.
An example page from the photographic narrative structure. The photo was taken moments after the impact.
An example page from the cable network narrative structure. No networks were showing the event at this point.
An example page from the pager messages narrative structure.
Minutes after the moment of impact, the CNN was first to interrupt their programming flow and report the event on live television. Other cable networks would follow later.
An example page from the telephone and pager messages narrative structure. After the impact of the first crash the amount of emergency calls and pager messages increased significantly.
After fifteen minutes all but one of the significant television channels were showing live visuals from the burning WTC 1 tower.
Halfway through, the narrative structure continues in the second volume. This signifies a rupture or radical break in time (i.e. “post-9/11”).
An example page from the photographic narrative structure showing the critical moment of impact from the street level.
Because after 20 minutes many people could know what was going on through television and radio, the second crash was seen live and in high quality by people from all around the globe.
In contrast to the first crash, the impact of the second plane on the WTC 2 (south tower) was documented by many different people, and from many different locations.
Because after 20 minutes many people could know what was going on through television and radio, the second crash was seen live and in high quality by people from all around the globe.
An example page from the factual narrative structure that aims to show the moment of impact in typographic form.
An example from the photographic narrative structure showing the “Falling Man” as shot by Richard Drew.
On Sept. 12th, most of the significant newspapers around the world showed the same images of the second plane crash from different angles and at slightly different moments.
An example page from the photographic narrative structure showing the aftermath of the event.
Back cover of the second volume.
Info
Title: 911
Subtitle: Heartbeat of a Distributed Media Event
Title.alternative: Distributed Images
Type: Print; Paperback (with dust jacket)
Type.dimensions: 210 × 145 × 70 mm; 210 × 145 × 70 mm
Type.pages: 2,458 pages
Type.volumes: 2
Type.printing: Black; Full-colour process (CMYK) (dust jacket, selected spreads); Double-sided
Type.edition: Single copy
Designer.name: F. N. (Fernando) van der Vlist
Designer.affiliation: School of Media & Design, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Supervisor.name: L. J. M. A. (Lauran) Schijvens; K. M. (Karin) Mientjes
Supervisor.affiliation: Dept. of Graphic Design, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Committee.name: G. C. C. (Gabrielle) Marks (chair); L. J. M. A. (Lauran) Schijvens; K. M. (Karin) Mientjes; N. O. (Niels) Schrader; N. (Nicole) Martens
Committee.affiliation: Dept. of Graphic Design, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences; Mind Design – Gedankendesign; Nicole Martens
Description.note: Submitted to the Department of Graphic Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy, School of Media & Design at the Rotterdam University of Applied Science, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Design (BDes).
Description.note: This project was nominated for the Drempelprijs Vormgeving 2012, and exhibited at WdKA Graduation Festival 2012 at Fenixloodsen I and II, Rotterdam.
Description.note: This project was included in Max Bruinsma, ed. “Dutch Design Graduates 2012.” Items 4–5 (Oct.–Nov. 2012): 41–112. Print., also available online at “ITEMS Dutch Design Graduates 2012.” ITEMS Dutch Design Graduates 2012. Stichting Design Items, Feb. 2013. Web. <http://dutchdesigngraduates.nl/>, and exhibited from 20 Oct. 2012 to 28 Oct. 2012 as part of the “ITEMS Dutch Design Graduates.” exhibition at the Dutch Design Week 2012 (DDW ’12) (De Machinekamer, Strijp-S, Eindhoven).
Description: These two monumental volumes present a rigorous analysis of how one particular image (the crash of American Airlines Flight 175 into the South tower of the WTC) lends its iconic power to a network of distributed media objects. The events on Sept. 11th, 2001 have been captured and preserved by many and in a wide variety of different media formats. Using primary documentation material (newspaper articles, frontpages, photographs, tv channels, phone conversations, text messages, pager data from the FDNY) and a systematic design approach, 911 presents a trajectory of this distributed media event.
Through additional design layers, it also provides a detailed perspective into the specific media ecology that has now been engraved into the collective memory. By tracing the chronological trajectory, it becomes instantly clear how time accross the globe is synchronised by the media at the time of this event. One by one, TV channels interrupt their programming flow to show the breaking news. And where the first crash (American Airlines Flight 11) was only captured by two French filmmakers (Jules and Gedeon Naudet just happened to be there, shooting a documentary about a rookie firefighter) and in relatively bad quality, the second plane crash (American Airlines Flight 175) could be staged, observed, and documented from a wide variety of places, and with different kinds of registration devices, resulting in high-quality documentation. By presenting the documented material in a clear and structured way, these volumes speak for themselves.
Printer: Van der Perk
Printer.place: Groot-Ammers, the Netherlands
Date.submitted: 11 June 2012
Date.evaluated: 11 June 2012
Date.defended: 11 June 2012
Language: English (United Kingdom)
Rights: Source material from various sources.
2012– fernandovandervlist.nl
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