Interesting things I've found while working on the WTC Memorial Competition

(not in chronological order)

  • Christopher Benfy's argument on Slate for why much less is more for a WTC Memorial.
  • Benfy misuses an interesting term, "countermonument," which comes from Competition juror, Prof. James E. Young. [it's used on this syllabus]
  • Speaking of syllabi, this outlines a Radcliffe Women's Studies graduate course titled The Politics of Traumatic Memory: History, Place, and Art in Societal Examinations of Memory. It's dated August 2001.
    Week 1, Sept. 12: Introduction: Interdisciplinary Course Themes
    1. Politics, history and public process after societal trauma
    2. Traumatic memory in art and material culture
    3. Place, memory, the built environment, and memorial dialogues

    Topics to be addressed
    1. The distinction between memory and history
    2. The challenges of remembering/commemorating past events
    3. How memory, the body and place are inter-related
    4. How memory is used to serve a political purpose

  • in 1999, Young and Philip Gourevitch conducted an engrossing email discussion on Slate about remembering the Holocaust in America. [Uncanny update: GreenCine Daily's David Hudson just wrote an article for Telepolis on the troubling persistence of Hitler as Narrative, which mentions yesterday's NYTimes article on "too many Holocaust documentaries.]
  • Young is critical of the "fetishization of ruins" in the Holocaust memorializing context, and makes a connection that startles me about a "tradition that already makes the ancient remnants of a destroyed temple in Jerusalem its holiest shrine." I'd never EVER considered The Wailing Wall as a reference for the WTC slurry wall, although according to Jan Herman, ViŇoly and others have.
  • The exposed slurry wall has been rebuilt once, is being rebuilt now, and will probably be redone again. There is no archaeology at the site; everything will be recreated. [via Rafael ViŇoly]
  • Daniel Libeskind has dual Israeli and American citizenship. ViŇoly's wife and child are Jewish.

  • Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

    comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
    greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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    first published: June 16, 2003.

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