Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Falling, Floating, Dancing, Fading...

To be honest I was not at all excited about Dr. Pozorski's lecture. "Here we go, another talk about different representations of 9/11..." The picture of the "falling man", which was posted for us to look at before the lecture, made me feel uneasy. Generally, I feel that we are a nation who witnessed 9/11 and wether we were directly touched by it, or not, we all came away with different interpretations of the events that took place. For some reason, I have found that we are all happy with our own outlook on 9/11 and no so much with others'.

The biggest problem with a picture like the "Falling Man" is the fact that once it's published it is up to the viewer to interpret it as they wish. There is no background, no revelation of the person falling. While some are in shock, others are in awe. What was it then, that the man was expressing? Was it willpower, resignation, stoicism, or even freedom?

His fall became a part of history, the photographer made it history. The fact is that the picturItalice froze the falling man as a still object, but the man was falling. Those who can look at this picture and call it beautiful due to the symmetry and the posture of the man's body are turning the subject in the picture into an object. In reality, the picture of the "falling man" features a condemed man. His jump is a brave act caused by fear. That in itself is an oxymoron. This man lost faith. With no way out, he sought his freedom. By making the active choice to jump this man chose the means to his end. He ultimately gained control of the uncontrolable situation. But was he really? I am sure that the 11 shots surrounding this one will reveal that he was not so stoic. While traveling at 150 miles per hour, this man fell just like everyone else, "trying to hold onto th elife he was leaving", according to the Esquire article.

What is this "falling" that we are talking about anyway? There is a gravitational attraction which has an end, but like Dr. Pozorski pointed out, there are no words for such a moment. When something falls, it is usually an accident. This picture of the falling man shows no accident. He was willingly falling. Willingly losing control. Willingly departing this earth. How is it that people who witnessed this horror called it a vision of flight or birth? I suppose that when we witness something like this we must become dellusional in order to make ourselves feel better. To think of "falling well, and entering a world head first; while it is we who are falling" is a bit dellusional, but in the end it makes sense. It connects the falling man to something else. We always do.

For one artist in particular, the terrorist attacks came to be represented by his mural, featuring two blindfolded men, silently screaming amongst ruins and a fallen people. Again this is simply a representation, a dellusion of realtiy. It is art. This is where I would make the argument that history and art, although intertwined often, have no place together. This painting is beautiful. It has silent fury to it. It is sad. However it is not raw and ugly, it is not loud and screetching like the voices of those who witnessed 9/11 or lost someone in its rubble.

I support Dr. Pozorski's mention of a double bind, where people tell the truth in testimonies through figuritive speech. This is the chaotic state of mind that Frank was talking about in The Wounded Storyteller. Our words can never express the pain felt during that time. It is a time remembered and untouched. That is why no piece of 9/11 art should or could make us feel better about what happened. It is simply art, separate from the actual events that took place that day and our individual memories of them.

As for the two men in the mural, blinded and crying out? They are blind, they never saw their terminal fate coming. They are crying, yet they are silent because no one can help them now.

Again, tieing this historical event to something else from the past, the entire thing reminds of the mythical being known as Icurus. Icurus, out of curiousity or vanity, flew too close to the sun. His wings, which were made out of wax, melted and he fell down into the depths of eternity.

I have to ask why the U.S. was attacked on 9/11? There are other powerful nations who are threatening. The answer is unknown, but the fact remains that we are on top of the world. Perhaps we flew too close to the sun and for that, the wax wings of many innocent victims melted, as they fell into the depths of what was soon to be the remains of the World Trade Center.

Because everything is connected and there are different ideas through this lecture I realized that it is worth talking about 9/11 time and time again. The lecture that I was not really looking forward to left me surprised and searching for more. It was presented in a very interesting manner and I look forward to working with the subject and the knowlege I gained from Dr. Pozorski in the future.

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