05w36:3 9/11

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 36 number 3 (9/11)


Kodak Moments, Flashbulb Memories: Reflections on 9/11 | Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
“The attack on the World Trade Center is said to be the most photographed disaster in history. This is a city designed to look at itself from spectacular vantage points, whether from the top of Manhattan’s signature skyscrapers, high rise apartments, and tenements, from the street, along suspension bridges, on boats along the rivers surrounding the island, and from Queens, Brooklyn, New Jersey. The attack produced a spectacle that was photographed incessantly and seen instantaneously across the globe […] It has been said that for the present to become history, fifty years had to pass. But history’s famous actors, not least of which our own American presidents, work in the present to control their historical legacy. September 11 has created the powerful sense that one is a witness to one’s own experience and obligated to record it in some way. This takes historically specific forms tailored to the events themselves, whether Oyneg Shabes, Ringelblum’s project, or the events of September 11. Both involve the responsibility for ensuring that an historical experience will be remembered. Both raise the question of what should be collected and preserved. From a museological perspective, September 11 is everywhere. How do you collect a present that is already historical? Some institutions, like the Museum of the City of New York, have taken a slow approach to creating exhibitions that deal with the disaster, preferring more distance from the events and a more selective approach to the collection of iconic artifacts for telling the story. Not surprising, the designer the Museum of the City of New York has commissioned Ralph Appelbaum, who is famous for his storytelling approach to museums, to design the exhibitions in what were to be its new quarters in the Tweed Courthouse downtown – Mayor Bloomberg has nixed that plan. This and other museums have been collecting such iconic objects as the crushed fire truck, ‘a pair of muddy boots, respirators and masks, dust from the window-sills of Battery Park City, even the clothes worn by Mayor Giuliani,’ and a twisted Venetian blind. The Museum of the City of New York has even added the Wall of Prayer to its collection, a spontaneous assemblage of images and messages on a construction site fence at one of the entrances to Bellevue Hospital. This kind of collecting is more like the time capsule–items from the present in anticipation of the future–than archeology, though archeologists are vital to the forensic effort and that evidence will become part of the historical record. For some time, Ground Zero remained a crime scene. “NOTE: PDF, 37 pages, 1.75 MB

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emailed by Timothy on Sunday 11 September 2005 @ 12:30 PM

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