Archive: Issue No. 49, September 2001

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Choire Sich

Photo (Union Square Memorial) by Choire Sich

See Joy Garnett's for documentation of the attack by New Yorkers

World Trade Center crash: the aftermath

In the dark, numbing days since the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York, information as to the whereabouts of specific individuals has emerged slowly. Most New Yorkers have stories of the near misses of friends and acquaintances, like the artist who had been going to sleep over in her World Trade Center studio the night before - she finally made it into the building just as the first plane struck and was able to dash out aagin.

Emma Bedford of the South African National Gallery was in an apartment only blocks away, having come to the city after a visit to Chicago for the opening of the exhibition 'The Short Century' (see Listings). Journalist Tony Karon and artist Jann Cheifitz were driving downtown towards Jann's studio when the second tower burst into flame. In an article in the Cape Times this week, Karon wrote: "My five-year-old son and his friend spent last Tuesday afternoon in his bedroom, building twin towers out of blocks, then knocking them down with toy planes. For their sakes, and the sakes of their peers all over the world, I pray that the US responds to last week's crime with intelligence - in every sense of the word."

Also known to be safe are Vanessa Solomon, Justine Wheeler, Amanda Williamson, Ralph Borland, Michael Gresty, John Peffer, Lauri Firstenberg, Joy Garnett and Okwui Enwezor. New York artist Janet Goldner who came to South Africa in the late Eighties to curate a show of women's work on postcards writes that she is in Mali, about to go "home", but hears from New York that a military escort is needed to get into her building.

Artthrob received several email petitions from artists in Europe, all calling for the United States to act only after careful consideration of all factors, of which this one, 'Petition for a Thoughtful US Response', seemed to cover most of the points: "Please sign The Petition at which appeals to world leaders to be level-headed and, wherever possible, peaceful in their response to the recent attack against the United States."

One of the most balanced viewpoints we have seen came in an editorial by Alide Dasnois in the Cape Times of September 17 headed "A truly changed world would be the only fitting memorial". "On the whole, the danger is not that the world might change", wrote Dasnois, "but that it might not ... The challenge to all of us is to use this opportunity to stop and reflect on the world we live in, a world where injustices - real or perceived - are so deeply felt that some people are desperate enough to sacrifice their own lives as well as those of thousands of others to make their dreadful point."

See Exchange for a request for assistance in collecting visual artifacts from Colette Gaiter.