New York City Hall, 9/11/2011

September 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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Concert for New York

September 11th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center

The L train is not running this weekend, so I walked west across 14th Street instead of catching the train. It took a few blocks for me to realize that I was retracing, backwards, the journey my sister and I took on 9/11. It hit me when I passed Beth Israel Hospital. I can still bring to mind the image of men and women in scrubs, face masks pulled low on their faces, waiting for the injured to arrive.

This anniversary brings with it some reliving of the events of 2001, and while it is painful to revisit these memories there is some cathartic release in this visit. » Read the rest of this entry «

New York City remembers.

September 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

9/11 Memorial at Engine Company 3, 7th Battalion, built by a retired firefighter.


Shrine outside Engine Co. 3, 7th Battalion.

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The Jar Project is headed back to NY.

September 5th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

The Jar Project, September 2002, Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY


When the first plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 I was in a closet in a public elementary school in Central Harlem (PS 161), preparing for the art class I would teach later that day. Abby, the dance teacher, was prepping in the room next door. She let me know what had happened. We thought it was an accident.

We went into her classroom to listen to the radio coverage. A second plane hit. We knew it wasn’t an accident. » Read the rest of this entry «

The dissertation is done. But I’m not.

September 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The National 9/11 Memorial (still under construction) lights up at dusk, August 4, 2011.


You may have noticed I’ve been away from this blog for a while. Well, at some point I realized that I could not work full-time, blog regularly and still meet my dissertation deadline. I decided to put all of my writing energy into completing the Ph.D. It worked.

I finished in June and took a few months to adjust (and by this I mean reconnect with the family and friends I’ve neglected over the past 5 1/2 years). I felt like I was at a point where I had reached a definite marker. Either the project could end with the dissertation or it could continue. Despite my best efforts to let this project lie still for a while, I can’t help but continue. It’s like a magnetic pull. I just can’t stop thinking about it. » Read the rest of this entry «

Health and Compensation

January 30th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Subway ad, photographed September 14, 2010

Art Daily announced comedian Jon Stewart will join the board of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Stewart went on air this past December, publicly shamed the Senate for stalling the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and criticized CBS, NBC and ABC for failing to report the issue. According to Stewart, “There was one network that gave the 9/11 first responders story the full 22 minutes of intense coverage that it deserved. But that network, unfortunately, was Al Jazeera. Our networks were scooped with a sympathetic Zadroga Bill story by the same network that Osama Bin Laden sends his mix tapes to.” » Read the rest of this entry «

The Open Wound of Trauma

January 23rd, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Child's drawing, September 14, 2001.

This year one of the holiday gift items I requested was a long list of books and films about 9/11. My fabulous husband cleaned out my Amazon wishlist, which means 1) I better get reading and 2) I must now restock that list because I have a birthday in February and there is a seemingly endless list of resources to consult for this dissertation.

A few nights ago, I was reading one of the new books in the pile, Trauma Culture by E. Ann Kaplan. She has a remarkable way of pulling the reader into her work. In the introduction, Kaplan writes about her own experience of 9/11 to demonstrate, among other things, the merging of personal and cultural trauma.

I found her writing to resonate in the context of my current research project, but also in the wake of the tragedy that took place just two weeks ago in Arizona. She writes, “Trauma can never be “healed” in the sense of a return to how things were before a catastrophe took place, or before one witnessed a catastrophe; but if the wound of trauma remains open, its pain may be worked through in the process of its being “translated” via art.” » Read the rest of this entry «

Their words always stay with me.

December 11th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

9/11 Memorial Preview Site, September 14, 2010

Last weekend the Yamamoto household welcomed a new (well, new to us) desk in my office. This may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve been talking about getting a smaller desk for nearly four years now, and here it is – just in time for the last 6 months of my dissertation frenzy.

The desk came from the home of a some nice people we met through Craigslist. It turns out the people who sold us the desk work in the film industry. As we were loading the desk into our pickup truck (and by this I mean David was loading and I was, well chatting) I mentioned I was writing a dissertation about 9/11 memorials. Turns out the seller of the desk had done editing work on a 9/11 documentary – Project Rebirth. » Read the rest of this entry «

Old Journals

November 20th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

This dissertation began somewhat unintentionally in 2001 with my first visit to the overflowing shrine at Union Square Park. This week I’m looking back at the early days of this research – remembering grief materialized in resplendent shrines, identifying the overlapping layers of material offerings and reading these temporary landscapes for evidence of an emerging narrative.

Union Square Park 2001

Union Square Park, September 17, 2001

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How do you remember?

November 9th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Tribute in Light seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 11, 2010.

I’ve thought about this idea of annual remembrance quite a bit over the past few months. We have somewhat socially structured ways in which we remember birthdays (cake), anniversaries (dinner) and national holidays (department store sales) but how do we remember traumatic events that take place in our own lifetime? » Read the rest of this entry «