The Language of History in 9/11 Memorial Museum
9/11 is forever etched in my mind. It’s a day that forever changed the course of history. But it’s also a day of intense personal experience for me as a young New Yorker. It was only natural that I would communicate about that experience through my writing and art. In 2014 I collected a tightly curated selection of that work for The Language of History exhibition at NYPL Jefferson Market Library. I also published a book by the same name to expand upon that show. But both the show and the book were tightly curated. My archive contained so much more that remained unseen and unpublished.
In 2015, when the 9/11 Memorial Museum expressed interest in my archive, I decided to prepare something totally unique and original just for the occasion. I designed a special anodized aluminum limited edition box to house original photographic prints from this body of work as well as a copy of The Language of History book. While the original book contained only 26 photographs, this special I’m set expands the total number to 129.
The purpose of the box is archival in nature. Many of these photos are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing or even good photographs in a technical sense. But they do document a very specific time and place and cover an aspect of the 9/11 tragedy—the local experience from Greenwich Village—in a way I’ve never seen done before. It’s hard to remember how back in 2001 we didn’t have cell phone cameras documenting events all around us, so that fact that I created all these photos is more unique than it might sound. My intent is to commit these personal images to the narrative preserved by the 9/11 Memorial Museum so that our larger collective history can remember the quiet stories of those dark days us New Yorkers experienced so many years ago.