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WTC Haikus

In 2010 interestingly – Avant-garde Filmmaker Jonas Mekas made a 14 minute film called WTC Haikus (2010), which collected diaristic shots on manhattan life, his friends, strangers, and landscape that had some visual reference to the towers, not as central but as a sort of ambient environmental character, only brought to the forefront by the memory of their demise. This film draws attention away from the disaster event and towards a non-hyperbolic experience of the towers as an ecological facet of a New York that is constantly in flux. interpretable as a kind of candid memorial film, WTC Haikus is shot in the shadow of the towers. Displaying their aura and presence through the lives of everyday people.


There is one moment at 6:48 seconds where we watch earth's population climb on a screen, with our contemporary knowledge that it has  since just about doubled. The doubling over of the planet struck me as an inadvertent reiteration of disaster.  It demonstrates the distance from the epicentre, ground zero, 70 foot hole in the ground, 3,000 dead, except– there were 6.2 billion people on the planet in 2001, so this footage timestamped by 4.8 billion people was shot in the shadows of the towers of 1985, Mekas, haunted by a future absence, so utterly tethered to place but completely evading, collapsing, preserving, accelerating, time. Cinema is tethered to the threshold, as it is embedded within the temporal cinematic condition, we watch in “after” as the representation of an implied“before” is presented to us. The film becomes an implied event.


In a way September 11th punctuated the end of cinema as we know it, everything before became a prophetic prologue and everything after, the epilogue. Re-presentations of September 11th have altered linear conventions of time. We are still stretched between the desire to see fully and suppress the image. Each year you see the phrase never forget, but how could we possibly remember?  In a way it was the perfect event, It irrupted from above. Yet through iteration after iteration the most televised event in history was rendered almost imperceivable.

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