Ground Zero – Thoughts on its reconstruction and meaning
Sorrow. Emotion. Shock. Empathy. Grief. Distress. Bewilderment.
They all make up the perfect frame to take advantage of. Morbid advantage, that’s for sure. These moods and feelings will be used for too many ends, by too many.
The Site reconstruction, as a therapy (and spell) to calm the pain. The Monument as guarantee for permanent remembrance to the unexplainable loss. How can we possibly cover the hole and keep it at the same time?
Once more, Architecture is summoned to solve the complex and contradictory plot that contemporary history sets up. And once more, like WWII erased every hope of progress of Mankind, in a few years all this cover will fall down, and what is reconstructed will end up being at least, doubtful. At most, a sterile, fallacious gesture.
Things as they are, with hints of Neo-Post-Modernism, the project for Ground Zero, thought as a giant memorial is a masquerade. A cover. And Architecture will be a perfect disguise. Maybe this is exactly what is pursued.
But “cover” of what????
To put sorrow over any other factor or consideration has no grip on reality.
If there’s an intention of reconstruction, it must be turned into a new construction. For good or bad, Ground Zero became a “tabula rasa” which will require a deep thought of what it will “express” from now on. As long as truth doesn’t come out to light, any memorials will just be frivolous.
A new programme for Ground Zero should take into account, not only the memory of the victims, but also the current status of our Culture, our Civilization, for those who witnessed the attacks and went on living, under the new circumstances of less freedom, new wars, new world order.
The unique character of the towers – its symbolic condition, was also demolished through an also symbolic single, unprecedented event. But what is not clear for my yet, is what that destruction symbolizes. The astonishment is utter.
The new proposals should rise, amongst other factors, from this astonishment, from the silence and paralysis this astonishment provokes. It should also be taken into account the failure of all control and security systems that “allowed” the absurd, the unthinkable, take place.
But why these matters leave me in such an anxiety?
Because depending what the answers to these questions might be, our position towards the facts can change violently. As violently as the attacks themselves. Because victims could have been abandoned. And those of us surviving and continuing with our lives, brutally deceived. With purposes. We could have all, dead and alive, been victims twice: for the madness of the terrorists, but also for the stupidity, negligence and incompetence of a Government and all of its intelligence structure.
Ground Zero ought to also have a didactic end: Something should be learnt from what happened. Culture, same as the iconic towers, cannot be maintained untouched after such damages. We don’t need attacks like those to occur frequently, to come up with the conclusion that something is not going fine.
Once is more than enough.
So the new status of our culture, and what should be featured in the new Ground Zero project, must include:
Lack of protection