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September 17, 2008 - Omaha, Nebraska

The September 11th Flipbook started off as a gag. In October 2005, I made a couple to share with friends and get their reactions. It seemed like every person I showed the flipbook to had something to say. Most recalled their version of the day, usually pin pointing the exact moment they became aware of what was happening. Some people were shocked at the scene depicted in the palm of my hand, but most were fascinated by the mechanics of flipping paper.
Initially, I was opposed to mass-producing the tiny books and refused to sell them at any price. I did not want to profit from the video for several reasons. An incredible amount of people died and I felt it would be wrong to capitalize on a tragedy. Also the video footage is owned by CNN, and I did not want to ask permission to create art. I believe when it comes to copyright law, my flipbook falls under "fair use", but I do not have a team of lawyers to back that assertion up.
I held on to the flipbooks for a couple of months, unsure exactly what to do with them. It was 4 years after the attacks and some people considered the subject completely off limits. Somehow, all the "Never Forget 9/11" memorabilia seemed to pass the taboo test, but my handmade flipbooks clearly pushed some sensitive buttons.
After passing the tiny flipbook around for a while, I realized the value in people’s feedback. Their critique of my artwork intertwined with personal memories created a unique meta-story each time. I knew the flipbook would need a lot of explaining and I was not sure if I could stand up for it all by myself, nor did I want to do it alone. The essay exchange was born out of necessity to explain this controversial art project. I was delighted to have stumbled upon a reason to continue making more September 11th Flipbooks, even if I had to give them away.
In March 2006, I had 50 flipbooks professionally made by the same people that make my barcode flipbooks.  Each color flipbook cost about $3.50, plus shipping to each writer, I estimated around $5 total. I figured I would ask people to write around 500 words, a penny per word monetarily speaking.
I put a call out for essays on my website, with video of a sample flipping. I was not sure how many emails I would receive. I sent out a mass email announcing the project, and several of my friends contributed essays. In less than 4 months I collected 50 responses. All of the different viewpoints legitimized the project. Even the angry responses turned into an opportunity for positive learning.
The first essay I received was actually taken from a conversation I was having with my friend about the project. I sort of tricked her into writing a long email and told her after the fact I would be using her words to kick off the project. I offered her chance to edit or re-submit a proper essay, but she decided to keep original statement in tact.
I was relieved to find the overall response was positive, but part of me secretly wished that more haters would have written in. I knew the flipbook would offend some people, but now that I’ve created a place for anyone to voice their opinions and reactions, I actually looked forward to reading their essays to better understand their side of the story. Not surprisingly, the handful of angry messages I did receive were short and understandably did not include a street address or return my emails. I have to include my favorite of the bunch.

i would like to have one of your 9/11 flipbooks because i would like to show everyone how much of a jackass you are to do something like this.  i live and work in new jersey and watched the towers get hit and fall from my office window.  it was one of the most horrible things i have every seen and for someone such as yourself to make art out of such a tragedy, well, you must be a total jackass!!

For better or worse, the flipbook seemed to magnify the difference between people who were there and people that were not. It is not my intention to pour salt in anyone’s wound. Nobody forces me to make art. I do it because I want to. I believe the terrorist attacks happened to all of us, no matter what side you are on, it affected the entire world. I needed to learn from September 11th. I had to find something positive in all that senseless destruction. The mainstream did not satisfy my hunger for truth. I felt empowered searching for meaning from a day filled with death and lies.
I am a lot of things: a tech nerd, DIY punk, conceptual artist. But I have never considered myself a writer. In fact, when I talk about the September 11th Flipbook project, I tell people I "created" the book, rather than "wrote" the book.
I tried not to intrude on the essays, but I did pose questions to several participants mainly to increase word count. I was much more interested in listening to and recording their responses. A few essays were not exactly what I was hoping for, but I included them regardless. I only refused a handful for being too short (I wasn't giving the books away for free after all.) The whole process of collecting essays felt like a talk show.
Inventors are not always the best person to talk to about their creations. I always struggle writing artist statements, and prefer the artwork speak for itself. The essays in the September 11th Flipbook describe the content of the book and at the same time they are the content of the book. Because other people wrote about this project, I did not have to. My voice and thoughts were expressed in the voices and thoughts of the participants.

Scott Blake

Main Page First Essay
Name Date Location Title
0. Scott Blake September 17, 2008 Omaha, Nebraska Introduction
1. Sarah Baker March 12, 2006 Omaha, Nebraska The very first essay
2. Sean Smith May 10, 2006 Toronto, Canada Tactical application of slowness
3. Mike Fischer May 17, 2006 Racine, Wisconsin My birthday is September 11
4. Pat Riot May 23, 2006 Los Angeles, California 9-11 FLIP OUT
5. Julian Miller May 31, 2006 New York, New York Desperate grab for attention
6. Scott Grant June 5, 2006 Bristol, United Kingdom I wished I didn't own a television
7. Daniel Clark June 6, 2006 Henderson, Nevada Media Monotony
8. Damon Lawner June 10, 2006 Los Angeles, California Concise yet massive story
9. Natalie Conforti June 12, 2006 San Francisco, California American student in Italy
10. K Torpy June 13, 2006 Omaha, Nebraska Incomprehensible accessible
11. Pierre Ernest June 18, 2006 Borsbeek, Belgium I also was born on Sept. 11th
12. Timothy Schaffert June 18, 2006 Omaha, Nebraska Lesson in commerce and tragedy
13. Chris Fischer June 18, 2006 Landisville, Pennsylvania i could give a fuck less
14. Aaron Norhanian June 19, 2006 Brooklyn, New York Hold the moment in my hand
15. Anonymous June 19, 2006 Anonymous. i think that Bush planned it
16. Steve Chudomelka June 19, 2006 Omaha, Nebraska Caught in the moment again
17. Adam Arsenault June 19, 2006 Prince Edward Island, Canada Respecting each other's visions
18. Pierre-François Maquaire June 19, 2006 Paris, France I collect folioscopes
19. Kim Lyvang June 20, 2006 Ontario, Canada My life is now richer
20. Alexis Turner June 20, 2006 Portland, Oregon Listen to *me*
21. Patrick Hughes June 21, 2006 Gainesville, Florida I would not like a 9-11 flipbook
22. Philippe Dubost June 26, 2006 Chamalières, France Sensational effects of this game
23. Jean-Pierre Becker June 27, 2006 Paris, France I could smile about your question
24. Jayne Sonshine June 28, 2006 Twp. of Washington, New Jersey Hold a piece of history
25. Tabitha Straws June 28, 2006 Seattle, Washington Selfish American
26. K. Verbonus June 28, 2006 Steilacoom, Washington Everyone wants to be right
27. Jo Bryan June 28, 2006 Cambs, United Kingdom Another frantic day
28. Hayley Gardiner June 28, 2006 Northampton, United Kingdom Not just about the victims
29. David Vogt June 28, 2006 Rockford, Illinois Feelings and emotions of others
30. Nick Jugovics June 28, 2006 Paxton, Illinois Made from suffering
31. Lennaert Bosch June 28, 2006 Cuijk, The Netherlands Ten and a half year old
32. Anonymous June 29, 2006 Anonymous Trivializing those events
33. David Pitman July 1, 2006 South Wales, United Kingdom Slap in the face
34. Tracy Cowell July 1, 2006 Somerset, United Kingdom Agree with it or not
35. Candy VanOcker July 1, 2006 Springville, New York This happened to everyone
36. Fadel Haowat July 1, 2006 Chicago, Illinois What the news can do
37. Daniel Sahagian July 1, 2006 North Arlington, New Jersey Light against Hate and Ignorance
38. Sam Brobvision July 1, 2006 Nottingham, United Kingdom Little effect on my life
39. Cain Radford July 1, 2006 Broken Hill, Australia Through tragedy life goes on
40. Susan Rabka July 1, 2006 Johannesburg, South Africa I might as well have been there
41. Nicole Brodsky July 1, 2006 San Francisco, California Arbiter of the act
42. Julie Gormly July 2, 2006 Brisbane, Australia Uncomfortable sharing
43. Nicola Dingle July 2, 2006 Somerset, United Kingdom Seize the day
44. Tarryn Bow July 3, 2006 Broken Hill, Australia Far more shocking
45. Ricardo dC Russo July 3, 2006 Manaus, Brazil World is full of lost words
46. Pascal Fouché July 4, 2006 Paris, France How people can see it
47. Anthony Mack July 4, 2006 Lacey, Washington ALL humans strive for freedom
48. Teri Jenkins July 6, 2006 Ontario, Canada Deepest sympathies
49. Alexandre Noyer July 6, 2006 Annecy, France Internationnal langage
50. Yolanda Yuyu July 6, 2006 Chengdu, China It tell us to remember something
51. Craig Park July 7, 2006 Rocky Mount, North Carolina Are we better for our learning
52. Kell Black July 11, 2006 Clarksville, Tennessee Small matchbox diorama
53. Anonymous July 12, 2006 United States Sophisticated visual humor
54. Lauren De Luca July 12, 2006 New York, New York Less than a mile from the Towers
55. Nanette Allen July 12, 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada Intimate translations
56. Manfred Reichert July 21, 2006 Visselhoevede, Germany Flash animation
57. B Rousse July 22, 2006 Paris, France It deserves our irreverence
58. Charlotta Bjorkskog July 22, 2006 Kokkola, Finland Of course you gain on it
59. Stuart and Tara July 24, 2006 Brooklyn, New York Better view on the TV
60. Dave Schneider January 29, 2007 Chicago, Illinois Remind me of "real" pain
61. Dan Keane January 30, 2007 Bloomfield, New Jersey what the fuck was the 'message'?
62. Thomas Hill February 6, 2007 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma perception is reality
63. Robert Fischer March 29, 2007 Houma, Louisiana the defining moment
64. Frank J Perrotta December 5, 2007 Sharon, Pennsylvania 9-11 Flip Book Manipulations
65. Matthew Lahey January 7, 2008 Los Angeles, Califronia On A Flipbook
66. Kristin Heikel March 16, 2008 Omaha, Nebraska Reporting and Voyeurism
67. Aibyouka Kun September 29, 2008 Westmont, New Jersey The First IM Chat
68. Bobby Ryan November 4, 2008 North Cape May, New Jersey Patriotic Work of Art
69. Trevon Watson February 3, 2009 Guyton, Georgia War On Terror is Fading Away
70. Adrian Davis February 17, 2009 Fort Bragg, North Carolina Something you care about
71. Dear December 26, 2008 Portland, Oregon Second IM Chat
72. James King May 4, 2009 Glasgow, Scotland The world will never be the same
73. Beáta Istvánko October 27, 2009 Budakalász, Hungary Opinion of the audience
74. Alex Klehfoth June 1, 2009 Lexington, Kentucky Twin Tower Pinata
75. Wolfgang Skodd May 5, 2010 Dortmund, Germany Agents & Provocateurs
76. Michiko Tanaka August 2, 2010 Seattle, Washington Over and over
77. DJ Tilley January 7, 2011 Reno, Nevada Wandering around the playground
78. Benjamin Goggin January 8, 2011 Portland, Oregon Tornadoes to terrorism
79. Tom Eubank January 8, 2011 New York City, New York Top floor of 95 Christopher Street
80. Ian January 8, 2011 Oakland, California Stir things up
81. Anonymous February 24, 2011 Anonymous Inconsiderate and offensive
82. Amanda Marsico March 3, 2011 District of Columbia, USA Thank you for making me think
83. Anonymous April 18, 2011 Anchorage, Alaska This isint a joke
84. Jessica Schwartz April 27, 2011 USA Who is the work for?
85. Dr. Kevin Dann May 19, 2011 Brooklyn, New York Thanks Art Spiegelmann
86. TheBigBoss May 26, 2011 Nairobi, Kenya Le Chêne et le Roseau
87. Stephania June 27, 2011 USA More Real Than Reality
88. Anonymous July 11, 2011 Brooklyn, New York Weak and Irresponsible
89. Renee Nied August 4, 2011 Cobleskill, New York Pick Up Tomorrow
90. Elliott Burris September 2, 2011 Saint Joseph, Missouri I was only 3
91. Sheila Zachariae September 9, 2011 Omaha, Nebraska Protecting the people from themselves
92. Wendy Parker November 6, 2011 Leicester, United Kingdom Interesting Yet Horrifying
93. Aidan Hicks March 12, 2012 Aurora, Colorado Quite Young on September 11
94. Patrick McCarthy April 17, 2012 Chicago, Illinois Propaganda Attack
95. Billy October 12, 2012 Sandia Park, New Mexico Bling Review 41
96. Gabriella Cutrone June 25, 2013 Brooklyn, New York Inspired and Upset
97. BSG October 31, 2013 Portland, Oregon Images Detach From Emotions
98. Wilfredo Raguro July 28, 2016 Irving, Texas Looking Back Now
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