This installation is a reflection on the events of September 11, 2001. At that time, Scarlett and I were living in Park Slope, Brooklyn and working in architectural firms in Manhattan. Early on the morning of September 11, while on our way to work, we experienced first hand the attack on the World Trade Center.
The panels flanking each side of the installation are a literal map of our trajectories that day: leaving for work on two separate trains and subsequently finding one another in the city. After the towers fell, we met at a friend’s apartment before walking back to Brooklyn. The diptych panels are an analogy for the spatial relationship between the island of Manhattan and the neighboring borough of Brooklyn. The vulnerability of the city and its residents became evident immediately when all mass transit shut down.
The composition resonates with the textures of the city walls layered with posters, graffiti, and other miscellaneous writings. Embedded in the map are names of friends that lived in the immediate vicinity of the five boroughs along with music lyrics from the album I was listening to as I stood in the subway car, stalled on the Manhattan Bridge, gazing at the smoke coming from the North Tower. I have embedded copies of emails sent from friends and handwritten notes that Scarlett kept with her during the weeks following the attack.
Scarlett’s ceramic plates are a response to the immediate way the landscape of the city changed in the days following September 11: the appearance of the makeshift poster walls that grew along the New York hospital facades. There, the names and the faces of those that were missing hung with a heavy presence. After several weeks, when the rescue efforts had transitioned into recovery, the posters remained, untouched, weathered and stained on the city’s walls. These were the first memorials to materialize after September 11.
The scope of the terrorist attacks is symbolized as three columns of ceramic tiles marking the three sites of incident: The World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Washington, DC, and Flight 93 which was downed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Scarlett and I feel an obligation to express our experiences that day. In the past ten years, we have not dedicated enough time for reflection and healing from that day’s events. Although we were unwilling bystanders to the events in New York City, we owe it to our community to share our story with the hopes that viewers can have a better understanding of how this tragedy has shaped our people, our nation, and our world since September 11, 2001.