The gravestone as an interface to history.

What is Crypt?

Crypt is a storytelling platform that helps visitors of old urban cemeteries engage with local history through spontaneously generated audio tours of gravestones.

How does it work?

After determining the gender and years of life of the departed from the inscriptions on the gravestone, Crypt composes a story about the significant events this person might have seen and the possible lives they could have led — giving the cemetery visitor a human-centered perspective into history.

The stories are algorithmically built on the spot from a database of story building blocks that were previously written and tagged by local historians using Crypt’s story creation interface. Crypt figures out which story building blocks to chain together by matching the data from a specific gravestone to the tags on the story building blocks. Then the story text is narrated via an advanced speech synthesis tool and music that was composed in the corresponding era is added to the track as well. The music is matched to the mood of the story text using a sentiment analysis algorithm.

The platform tracks which stories have already been heard by the visitor and provides them with new narratives when a similar grave from the same period is visited.

What is Crypt’s significance?

Crypt allows us to honor the departed whose life stories are lost to us, encrypted in the ground, by honoring the history that these people lived in. These semi-fictional stories might not reflect the real lives of the individuals buried there, but they aim to encircle them with historical facts from their time and make their lives less blurry for us. Crypt also aims to revitalize old cemeteries through the power of interactive storytelling and turn them into historical learning spaces.