Filling the Void
September 17, 2001 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Filling the Void Phantom Towers, a memorial by Paul Myoda and Julian LaVerdiere. "They imagined two powerful beams rising from a reflecting pool, refilling the void left by the twin towers with incandescence."
posted by Nick Finck (25 comments total)
Oh, please, don't let them do this. This idea - and those ideas similar: a monument, a park, a garden - is so politically correct that it breaks my heart. That is not American. It would be American to rebuild them. It would be American to build something bigger and better (or even exactly the same). To do anything - anything - else is a travesty and an insult.
posted by GatorDavid at 1:42 PM on September 17, 2001

It's a temporary monument, to be installed until rebuilding commences. I like that idea.
posted by kindall at 1:49 PM on September 17, 2001

Good link, but no. There should be a moratorium on WTC site related art proposals until we can get some perspective. Imagine what the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial might have looked like if it was designed in the 60's instead of the 80's.
posted by username at 1:50 PM on September 17, 2001

I've seen a million different versions of what will be unamerican. Bah.

Whatever is built will be argued over. I'll spend my energies supporting whatever is decided on.
posted by jragon at 1:51 PM on September 17, 2001

allowing artists to create something like this isn't a defeat, it isn't some repudiation of the american ideal. it's an attempt to make some sense of this tragedy in a way that's not made from stone and steel and "let's show them who's best" mentalities. i don't think we should re-build the towers bigger or better.

donate the money that might have gone towards constructing a more massive skyscraper to relief aid. and, yes, after we get some "perspective," make the site an open space, or, as with the vietnam memorial, ask artists to submit ideas and designs.
posted by ronv at 1:52 PM on September 17, 2001

This is the best proposal I've seen yet. Inexpensive, and symbolic without being tacky, two beams of light where the towers once stood seems to me to be something everyone could at least tolerate, if not appreciate. I think it's a beautiful idea.
posted by kevspace at 1:55 PM on September 17, 2001

GatorDavid, I don't think you have sole province over dictating what is "American" and what is not. What makes the one "American" and the other not? Please explain your position. The people who proposed this are American citizens.

I disagree wholeheartedly with your very strong language about this. Who is it a travesty and an insult to? A classy memorial, until such a time as the towers can be rebuilt certainly honors those who lost their lives. To choose to have it as a permanent fixture would also honor the memory of those who lost their lives. I personally, do not want anyone to forget what happened in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington last week. I do not want this to slip through the cracks of our consciousness. One way to ensure that is a memorial. Whether or not this is the best possible idea for a memorial is quite open to debate.
posted by bump at 1:57 PM on September 17, 2001

Thanks for posting this. As a temporary memorial, it's both striking and symbolic.
posted by mrbula at 2:02 PM on September 17, 2001

I apologize for not qualifying my comment. I think that it would be un-American.

As a temporary memorial I think it is a lovely idea.

I think that the event was an insult. I think that the event was a travesty. I think to forever take that chunk of land and allow it to stand as a monument to a terrorist act is disrespectful to those that were killed. Yes, you can say that it would be a monument to those that were killed, but I don't think that's what it would be. I think it would be a testament to the terrorists: You knocked it ... us ... down. And we won't get back up again. To me, that is the politically correct, un-American response.
posted by GatorDavid at 2:13 PM on September 17, 2001

Yikes. We haven't even finished the cleanup. There's still *bodies* left covered there. There's still people hoping for survivors (if they can still hope). To propose a memorial seems way premature (and perhaps self-promotional).

Any why should we build a monument to the buildings? I never thought they were very great -- except in terms of size. The tragedy isn't the changed landscape, the tragedy is the loss of five thousand human lives.

Let's create a living memorial: let's root out the source of this violence, and similar violence. Let's get the US to pledge to stop supporting terrorists when it's convenient, and not support governments who do -- at any time. Let's memorialize this event by putting human lives above our economic prosperity.

Oh, wait. That's probably unamerican, too. Forget it: let's just put up and plaque and get on with bidness.
posted by terceiro at 2:42 PM on September 17, 2001

Call me cold-blooded, but building a park-monument on land that valuable is entirely impractical. This incessant "turn it into a park" is all very nice, up until someone realizes where this land is located.

Before we get too consumed with honoring the dead, why don't we do ourselves the benefit of honoring the living by showing those who would do harm to our way of life that they will fail. Rebuild a new, more grand building - including a tasteful, yet permanent memorial. Call it a triumph of American spirit even in adversity.
posted by ringmaster at 2:59 PM on September 17, 2001

Kevspace: Inexpensive?

I have to wonder about the energy costs involved in creating such massive beams of light. First, the cross-sectional area is huge. Second, the height is huge. Third, the brightness necessary to make them visible in downtown Manhattan, which is quite bright already, is very, very huge.
posted by whatnotever at 3:15 PM on September 17, 2001

this actually makes sense to me as a distinctly american piece of art: it's temporary, it's huge, and it'll doubtless waste shitloads of energy. and the best part is it'll be made of...nothing.

it's twisted. i dig it.
posted by patricking at 3:15 PM on September 17, 2001

I'd hate to live anywhere near that light source. There'd be no blocking it out.
posted by jenwells at 3:20 PM on September 17, 2001

Your friendly periodic reminder to read what's posted before commenting on it.

From one of the artists: "'I fully want office buildings to be there again. Not a graveyard or a rose garden or a piece of art. There should be big buildings. It ought to be the way it was again.'"
posted by Sapphireblue at 3:28 PM on September 17, 2001

And we won't get back up again. To me, that is the politically correct, un-American response.

Can you morons who keep misusing the phrase please explain how "we won't get back up again" could possibly be construed, by anyone, as "politically correct"? Who thinks that's "correct"?
posted by anildash at 3:56 PM on September 17, 2001


What I meant was that "the idea of memorializing the place (or scene) of a horrible tragedy rather than rebuilding" is the currently "politically correct" thing to do. I wasn't trying to imply that "not getting up again" was politically correct.

Sorry for the confusion, Anil.
posted by GatorDavid at 4:34 PM on September 17, 2001

"I have to wonder about the energy costs involved in creating such massive beams of light."

How much energy did the buildings use?
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:39 PM on September 17, 2001

Proseletyzing about (un-)Americanism aside, this thing will generate HUGE amounts of light pollution. These aren't lasers; it's going to spread out as well as go up. Nice idea, but no.

Cray: The question isn't specifically how much energy will be used. Sure, the buildings probably went through a lot more, but that use actually produced something. This will have no other purpose than sentimentality(in the middle of a business district...on some of the most expensive land on the planet), and make many people's nights a little brighter.
posted by Su at 6:18 PM on September 17, 2001

These aren't lasers

Well, hell, use lasers then! And CO2 fog!
posted by kindall at 6:46 PM on September 17, 2001

"but that use actually produced something. This will have no other purpose than sentimentality"

You know, I'm reminded of something I did on my vacation to Seattle. As my boyfriend was showing me around the city (and I was trying to get him to go up the Needle with me), we stopped for a while and sat at the International Fountain. Calling it a "fountain" doesn't quite do it justice, though. It's like a little show with jets of water (and at night, apparently, lights) synchronized to music. I honestly don't know how long we sat there; I lost track of time. But it was nice to sit there quietly with him, listening to the music, watching the show, and watching the people -- especially the children, running around near the dome and trying to just barely avoid getting hit by the water.

But in all the energy it takes to do this, it doesn't actually produce anything, does it? Let's shut it off, pave it over, and save some money on the city's electrical bills.

"(in the middle of a business district...on some of the most expensive land on the planet)"

Because it apparently hasn't been said enough, despite having been said in the article itself and four times in the discussion:

it's temporary

Thank you.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:28 PM on September 17, 2001

Can we pave the Needle over, too?

The fountain is what I like to call a "thingie." A thingie doesn't serve any obvious purpose, nor is it required to, and most likely wasn't intended to. This monument meets none of those criteria.

These lights will be nothing more than a grossly expensive session of scab-picking when people should be trying to move on, and an intrusion on the lives of those who have moved on. I'm perfectly aware it's temporary. I read the article. I made no comment regarding permanence. But it's still going to be expensive. And groundbreaking on the replacement/s isn't going to happen any time soon. Think of the massive contract it's going to involve and how many people will be pulled into it.
posted by Su at 10:41 PM on September 17, 2001

a grossly expensive session of scab-picking when people should be trying to move on

Yeah, damn those New Yorkers for not moving on quickly enough! Grieve faster, dammit!
posted by kindall at 8:47 PM on September 18, 2001

Yeah, twist my words to prove your argument!

There's a difference between grieving and dwelling. Now reread my comment.
posted by Su at 11:22 PM on September 18, 2001

I am amazed. I came up with almost the same idea. See pictures and an animation at
posted by GreenVortex at 10:40 AM on September 21, 2001

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