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9:11am project

Ana Teresa Vicente and Filipe Matos
2018

ZWISCHENDINGE [German conflation of between and things] adj. To be zwischendinge means that we are between two things, two events that demarcate turning points. We are currently zwischendinge… We all pretty much know that 9/11 was the first thing but we don’t know yet what that second thing is.
Douglas Coupland, L’Âge des séismes.
Guide de l’extrême présent. 2013

The 9:11am project uses several different mediums to reflect on one of the most impacting events of the last decades. Highlighting the belief/disbelief in images that has long since raised debate, particularly in a time filled with fake news where misinformation is openly and widely used, we propose a critical reflexion on progress as a fuse - that both triggers the creation as the destruction of what precedes it - as well as our relationship with technology. The project employs several distinct approaches: an artist book, an exhibition, a book launch, a presentation with a debate/roundtable, and a mini cinema cycle.

9:11am has as a point of departure a video produced by an alleged American couple, Bob & Bri, entitled “What we saw,” and reportedly captured during the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11/01. Each page corresponds to a second of the collapse of one of the towers, the entirety of its pages are covered with thermochromic ink. Resembling Kubrick's impenetrable monolith, the book's contents can only be seen by revealing the printed images through the use of a heat source.
At the end of the year 2000, news agencies from around the world began to spread an unusual image – unusual in that it showed a work of art from a country like Afghanistan: the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Usually, coverage of this sort would reach, at most, a brief mention in the cultural news section. International policy alarms were sounded instead when the Buddhas received prominent attention. In February 2001, the effigies were finally destroyed. When in September of the same year, another pair of gigantic cultural icons were destroyed in NY, a symbolic representation of the enemy was already established. This order of the facts always seemed suspicious.

Alexandr Medvedkin, in a film produced during the Soviet Revolution, used a train that moves forward in our direction to suggest the unstoppable momentum of that new era. Thus far, it was only a metaphor that connected the train to progress and the cinema to the train in our symbolic world. The chimney of this train, however, did not emanate smoke, but fire. And of fire and smoke, it's not a threat, fire is the suspect.

That's how the sign works. The sign is first and foremost, in its materiality,
a signifier. The signifier "fire" doesn't mean the same thing in a forest fire in rural Portugal, on an ATM in Paris, or in a shopping mall in Los Angeles. The advantage of art is to work with the materiality of the signs before their meanings are solidified.

Thus we let the fuse follow its course and suspicion infect the air.

 

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