Collective memory

9-11 Memorial | 2003

Ground Zero, New York City

What needed to be commemorated in a memorial to the events of 9-11-2001? The loss of New York’s symbolic gateway? The loss of 3,022 lives? The city’s ability to recover after such a monumental blow? The solidarity among New Yorkers and from all over the world during the period of mourning? These were all important for the construction of a specific memory and that is why this proposal is conceived not merely as a place, but as a ritual of renewal. Seasonally, changes would be made visible within the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. The ritual would begin on September 11 of every year, as mist rises from the floor, evoking the sadness and lack of certainty after the attack on the towers. The mist would be replaced in the spring by cleansing water filling the footprints and reflecting the sky. In summer, the reflecting pools would be planted as meadows until the next September, as the ritual continues to re-inscribe the event’s memory. Three thousand and twenty two unique, artificial, translucent “stones” the size of a hand would be strewn throughout the site, conveying the magnitude of human loss – they would be lit at night; the names of those lost would be engraved in the walls of the sanctuary below the space overlooking the towers’ footprints.