A 9-11 memorial proposal: Susana Torre

Susana Torre was one of the 5,000+ entrants in the open competition to design a memorial for the World Trade Center site. What distinguishes her proposal most from those of the eight finalists is its provision for memory's "reinscription," by dynamic events that continually renew memory and encourage us to rethink the meaning of what happened here. In part, this dynamic is in the recurrent, seasonal changes that the design celebrates and emphasizes. In part, it is in the provision of spaces for us and future generations to invent and act out our own rituals. Torre is the author of a major article on memorials, which she was completing just as the planes struck the World Trade Center towers -- whose burning and collapse she and I witnessed from our rooftop. In the essay, she compares memorials to the dead of World War I; victims of the European "Holocaust" in Poland, Austria and Germany; the murdered millions of Cambodia; the American dead in Vietnam; the "disappeared" during the military terror regimes of Chile, Uruguay, and her native Argentina -- and she added then a brief paragraph on what we had just witnessed. Everywhere, she finds, memory remains alive only when it is renewed, through reinscription by rituals that make the past speak to the ever-changing present.


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