New Orleans: an Interactive Tribute

10/01/08 :: by magalish

I recently discovered Triple Canopy, an online arts magazine that involves a collaboration of different types of artists and writers sharing their perspectives on current social issues. The site itself is quite nicely designed. The intuitive interface almost makes users feel as if they’re flipping through a printed magazine—hitting the arrow key to go to the next screen feels just about as natural as turning a page.

The third issue is now completely live and is a tribute to the city of New Orleans and its residents, commemorating the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The issue reaches viewers on multiple sensory levels and has a powerful impact.

The issue begins with a short introduction that talks about the symbolism of the tragic event. It goes on to include artwork by Rudolph Radlinger and Roy Ferdinand, both local New Orleans artists. Also featured, is photographer Will Steacy, who spent time in the city during the year after the storm, taking beautifully disturbing photographs that document its aftermath.

The section titled Homemade Memorials introduces an ongoing sculpture project that memorializes desecrated, destroyed, and forgotten buildings using photographs that readers have submitted. I’ll be interested to see the future pieces that result from this project. This issue also includes a directory listing various community projects, organizations, and other ventures in New Orleans, as well as virtual tour through NOLA’s Ninth Ward. This article points out how isolated the region has become and how its devastation has, sadly, become a spectacle for tourists.

I found the audio portraits of struggling Ninth Ward residents to be particularly moving. There’s something about hearing stories of people’s experiences told from their own mouths that makes the reality of the tragedy hit home.

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