Memorials in Context

Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 3:00 pm

On August 3rd, 2011 we strove to put some of what we were shooting in a historical and sociological context. We started off the day at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. We interviewed the Department Chair of Media, Culture and Communication, Marita Sturken. Well published as well as an expert in her field, Marita’s books explore the role of memorials and memories in our culture. She had many thoughtful insights into the role of the WTC Steel as a relic.

In the afternoon we explored the Center for Architecture, the home of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with its Executive Director Rick Bell. Rick Bell was on the committee that helped select the finalists for the New Jersey State 9/11 Memorial. Victim’s family members chose Frederic Schwartz Architect’s Empty Sky as the final design. Rick had just returned from touring the National 9/11 Memorial and shared that he hadn’t had a chance to explore the topic of the WTC Steel to any great length previous to our interview. He spoke articulately about the transformative process the WTC Steel undergoes being shipped out around the world.

Screen shots from the documentary, The Art of Memories, currently in production:

Marita Sturken in her office at NYU discusses the WTC Steel as relics and artifacts.  She thinks they can be seen as “standing in for the dead” and are as a strong symbol of the destruction of the day.


Rick Bell shares his thoughts on the relationship between design and memorials and the multi-meanings the WTC Steel takes on as it travels from its original location at Ground Zero to become memorials across America and around the world.


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