Time Lapsing at the WTC Site

Jim Whitaker is the director of a documentary in the making of the changes taking place at the World Trade Center site. Project Rebirth, as it’s called, has been taking time lapse imagery from various cameras perched on buildings surrounding the site since the Spring of 2002, after most debris was cleared away from The Bathtub.
Now, in time for the third anniversary of the attacks, they’ve released a trailer, some time lapse segments, and a webcam. Begun with an imperative to capture History and only a bare conception of what it might actually look like, the filmmakers added street-level and firehouse cameras later on.
Which is interesting, because by definition, human presence, the individual, is rendered invisible in a multi-year time lapse. Like Hiroshi Sugimoto’s movie screen photographs, which are exposed for the duration of a film. Technically, the resulting image “contains” all the information in the film, but the screen itself is pure white. Meanwhile, the minutest details of the theaters–architecture, seats, stages, curtains–emerge from the darkness only because of the projected film.


Ground Zero, The Long View [Sarah Boxer, NYT]