Return, Remember: Ephemeral Memorials in the Legacy of September 11th
Walking around DUMBO, Brooklyn during the week of September 11th this year, I saw a number of what looked like spontaneous shrines and public art tables set up between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. I talked to the people running the booths and found out that the Brooklyn Arts Council [BAC] had come up with the idea to have an exhibition of ephemeral memorials co-created by members of the Council and the public, who were invited to participate in an activity at each of the booths. I walked from one activity to the next and did a wide variety of things including painting a small canvas the color of the sky that morning, creating a bundle of memory herbs, placing a marble on a clay-covered table to represent 1 day since September 11th [there were enough marbles for every day in 10 years], and writing a note for a community spontaneous shrine.
During the week prior to the 10 year anniversary, BAC invited anyone to make an “ephemeral memorial” [often a spontaneous shrine] in memory of September 11th. One could make it at home, at a public place, at the office, or anywhere else they chose. Photographs of these homemade ephemeral memorials are now on the BAC website. You can see the online exhibition here.
I find it very interesting that the Arts Council chose shrines and memorials as the medium for their anniversary commemoration. Personal yet public, for the living and the dead…