Saturday, September 13, 2008

9/11 exhibit

For my Museums and Cultures class, I had to visit an exhibit of some kind and write a paper about it. I decided to visit the 9/11 exhibit that is currently at the BYU library, and will be there through Oct 3 if anybody is interested in looking at it. The exhibit has a wall with framed pictures of people who died in the attack, and their pictures are splattered with multicolored paint, sometimes covering most of the face. The main part of the exhibit is a metal frame with 3,000 tags, one for each person who died, and 2,000 of them have pictures and biographical clippings of the people who were killed. The tags are also splattered with the multicolored paint, so you often can't really read about the people who are on the tags. The purpose of the tags is for people, after looking at the exhibit, to write down what they think.

It was really interesting to go through the exhibit, especially because I had to write a paper about the experience so I was really paying attention. At first, when I was looking at the wall of framed pictures, I felt really sad for everybody who had died. When I was looking at the metal frame with tags on it, I shifted to thinking about the people who had written on the tags. Some people wrote messages to comfort people who would come (death is not the end, scriptures, those type of things), some people wrote political messages, patriotic, pro-war, anti-war, etc. A child drew a picture of a bird flying through the clouds, I liked that one. Some people wrote letters to the person whose biography was on the tag they chose. Some people just wrote what they were doing on September 11. Another big theme on the tags was "we will not forget."

So my question from the exhibit-- why do we do things like this? Why do we write messages for total strangers, and why do we read them? Maybe we write them more for ourselves? And why did the artist make a whole exhibit designed around this random sharing of feelings and thoughts?

I guess a blog is kind of like that, although I didn't think about it at first. I don't really think anybody I don't know reads this blog, although I guess they could if they wanted.

I did not write on one of the tags. I didn't have any thoughts I could have articulated, except maybe, "why?" But I think that would have been misunderstood.

1 comment:

Tammy Messick said...

Very interesting! At the conference I went to this summer, exhibit planners at the Skyscraper Museum studied the effect of 9/11 on an exhibit they were creating in New York. It was fascinating to see how the exhibit changed to reflect people's reactions/emotions regarding the tragedy. Keep up the good work!