by Margaret Yocom
Taken in the lobby
of One Liberty Plaza - "written" in the dust on the glass block wall.
Cite as: Rachel
Johnson, Image #194, The September 11 Digital Archive, 28 March 2002,
Desktop Wallpaper option saved from Macintosh website, 9/30/01, author
For examples of spontaneous memorials that can form the texts for these
questions, see the following websites:
(CityLore, site of Dr. Zeitlin and Ms. Cooper, our guest lecturers, 10
April 2002) http://www.citylore.org/cl_exhibits.html
(images accompanying a paper on 9/11 by Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett)
"World Trade Center
Papers," on Chico's Memorial Wall Avenue A at 14th Street, September 15
, 2001 Photographer: Barbara
image © 2002, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Fragments and wholes:
Spontaneous memorials, like many other cultural artifacts such as quilts,
collages, and possibly poems and stories, represent a a dialogue between
fragments and wholes. "Art," as art theorist Lucy Lippard suggests, "recalls
that which is absent." A Coca-Cola can, a favorite cigarette, a burnt
pink comb (see the U
Penn website), a t-shirt, a boot or shoe (see "Firemen"
photos on the CityLore
website), a teddy bear, a poem, a photographall are now standard
components of spontaneous memorials. Do memorials, with their use of evocative
a wholeness that can never be? What does such recycling of pieces signify?
Consider any of the images of the spontaneous memorials and discuss this
play of fragments and wholes.
makeshift memorial set up in Union Square, New York City. I took this
picture on the morning of September 13, 2001, shortly after the memorial
Cite as: Sue Luftschein, Image #74, The September 11 Digital Archive,
10 March 2002, <http://911digitalarchive.org/images/details/74>
For art theorist Ellen Dissanayake, art is the human behavior of "making
special." sugggests all arts do: they "make special." "Our lens is refocused,"
she explains. "Reality is converted from its usual unremarkable statein
which we take it or its components for grantedto a significant or
specially experienced reality in which the components, by their emphasis
or combination or juxtaposition, acquire a meta-reality" (What is Art
For? 95). "Making special," she suggests, involves the use of repetition,
combination or juxtaposition, combination of the unlike, re-contextualization
(taking an object out of its usual context and placing it in another),
enlargement, miniaturization, metonomy (a part of an object symbolizes
the whole object), and highly condensed symbols. Using the concept of
"making special," discuss the appearance of one of the spontaneous memorials.
This is the firehouse
on 14th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, on the morning of September
13. People began leaving flowers and messages of thanks almost immediately.
I walk by this firehouse every day.
Cite as: Sue Luftschein, Image #78, The September 11 Digital Archive,
10 March 2002, http://911digitalarchive.org/images/details/78
In his earlier writings on spontaneous memorials and their combination
of flowers, poems, candles, and more, Dr. Zeitlin has suggested that what
people are doing is "hallowing" making hallow or sacreda secular
space. How might the construction of a memorial accomplish this "hallowing?"
Avenue A at 14th St. This is normally a loud, busy intersection, but on
this morning (September 13), as people were beginning to gather in front
of the mural, the quiet was deafening.
Cite as: Sue Luftschein, Image #77, The September 11 Digital Archive,
10 March 2002, <http://911digitalarchive.org/images/details/77>.
own "making special":
Describe a space in your own home or neighborhood that you or someone
else has "made special": an altar, a mantle or shelf that's reserved for
particular photographs or mementos, a spontaneous roadside memorial (often
constructed to mark the sudden death of a young person in an automobile
Image created by Sean
Johnson Andrews for the
://english matters 9/11 exhibit.
Poetry of spontaneous memorials
At the website http://www.peoplespoetry.org
you'll see the texts of several writings that have been left at the site
of spontaneous memorials. Using the comments of Dr. Zeitlin*, ideas of
your own and other questions on this page, discuss these writings that
edge toward poetry, these often private thoughts that have been left in
read these additional comments from Dr. Zeitlin.