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Cover for the fall

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AP file

The image of the burning towers defined this decade. It dominated waking and sleeping life, political debates and Sunday dinners, birthday parties and weddings and funerals, for a solid year, maybe two, then lurked in the background for the rest of this decade, haunting elections and reelections, military debacles and constitutional fights. And it forced every artist in every medium to start each new piece by first asking if the work was meant to confront the image of the burning towers or deliberately avoid it (avoidance is also a response). (Matt Zoller-Seitz, “Image of the decade: Osama and the towers,” Salon, 31 Dec. 2009)

Cover for the fall

If we focus on this image, then it means we're attracted to the awesome, feel the need for awe. There is a sense that it belongs in the "mission accomplished" category, only much more successfully. That is, it might mean we'll be getting on through by means of huge true-life kicks like this.

The other image to be considered, is the one we are not prone to so readily replicate / revisit (just try it in art, and see what happens). The people falling. You felt there their experience. We briefly considered it, and decided immediately that, however much art there was in that, we will never, ever, allow ourselves to go back there -- not really -- the whole rest of our lives. We've all agreed. And most of us won't. Our super-ego allows the crash-bang, as cover, perhaps, of what it just will not allow on through, because it would disassemble us.

Link: Image of the decade: Osama and the towers (Salon)

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