The Number and the Names Memorial

The Ashgate Research Companion to Heritage and Identity
Edited by Brian J. Graham, Peter Howard
published by Ashgate, 2008


The Number and the Names‘” is an online memorial to September 11. It was created by Mac Dunlop and Neil Jenkins, with a visual prologue by Annie Lovejoy, as a component of an extensive art project.

Eschewing the naming of names, the four-dimensional memorial consists of words drawn from Dunlop’s poems, “11.09.01”; using an orbital engine created by Jenkins, they float on a colourless screen in a steady rotation around a central void. The order in which they appear is generated according to an inverse reading of the viewer’s IP address and those of previous visitor’s to the website. The visitor-participant can use the mouse to slow down or re-orient the orbiting words, but they cannot stop or reverse the process. As a virtual monument, ‘the Number and the Names’ both records and functions because of the history of mourners who have visited the site; it continues to exist only if visited by those who wish to participate, or as long as people continue to show any interest. Whereas many virtual memorial sites are little more than online petitions, Dunlop’s interactive site may indeed represent a paradigm shift in the nature of commemoration.” (pp. 226)