world trade center memorial
Lives were lost. Innocence disturbed. Perspective abandoned.
Too quickly-- before the wound had healed-- before history was re-imagined-- and before the final battles fought, a memorial masquerading as a monument was summoned.
A rush to set the past to rest, our imagination held hostage by fear and emotion.
Yet a memorial to the dead should not itself be dead. Carving deep holes in the ground beneath the footprints, open only to the sky, dwarfing people with their Herculean scale, would no doubt inspire awe and contemplation. But it speaks of language of the past, memorializing death over life, imposing solemnity on those wishing to celebrate freedom, vainly hoping to shut out time and pretend such horrors will remain rooted in the past.
A fitting memorial would pulse with energy, a living place commemorating thousands of lives cut short. And a reminder that to celebrate life, is to celebrate change.
e uno plures
Humans are pattern seekers- finding order in chaos, complexity in randomness.
Yet we often favor a simple explanation over the messy and nuanced truth.
The notion that all objects and emotions arise from a mixture of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire was dogma. Charming. Compelling. Wrong. The notion that human life is complex and delicately balanced and too sophisticated to arise from randomness is obvious. Compelling. And Wrong.
This piece explores –sequentially, visually and dynamically— the path to complexity from simplicity. Constructed from plastic ribbons that bend when heated or exposed to bright light, each pillar displays one of six tableaus- progressively more complex , yet each just one small step removed.
Six pillars of life.
e uno, plures
from one- many
An underutilized, iconic tower of the Liberty Science center was the venue for collaboration between the museum, an arts group and the local energy company. Artists were invited to create an exhibit in the pyramidal skylight above the tower, using energy from an on-site solar cell array and windmill. The final piece must be visible from the immediate community at night, while reinforcing the museum’s charter to educate and entertain.
If fresh world views are stimulated by art, while humans are blind to the lessons of history, then perhaps art remains our best hope to
People measure time in heart beats or seasons or long boring waits in line. But time scales of generations or millennia exist outside the realm of human experience and intuition.
So for most of us, the Grand Canyon merely exposes a colorful scar torn through the desert, leaving us mute to its graceful struggle with wind and water over the eons. We cannot see the patient weathering of rock into pastel striae. We cannot hear the cleaving of a DNA helix, triggering the birth of a new species when the canyon was young.
And thus doubt reality. Simply because we confuse the slow and steady, with the static and improbable.
Yet our species must develop a long-term perspective. That’s how we hold the earth in trust for generations upon generations. That’s how we appreciate the lessons of the past, avoiding the next war or the harm sprung from casual prejudice
Making time Deep Time visible and tangible is the purpose of TiWalkMe.
Unlike conventional parks filled with fields, playgrounds and foliage, TiWalkMe is designed as a living clock ticking out a thousand years. Every year, a row of trees are planted in a line bisecting a meandering path. A thousand planting beds wait patiently to be filled. One for each year of a millennia. Annually, younger rows of trees planted back along the path grow a few feet taller. In a few decades, this ever-increasing wave of trees forms a forest, coursing from the past into the future. A living wave, moving across the landscape like a hand across a very ancient clock.
A thousand years takes the forest on a mile long odyssey. By walking the same millennia path, reading the history on each planting bed, people cannot help but appreciate the nature of deep time. Resetting their sound-bite view of the world.
Intertwined within the forest are buildings and paths linking business, educational and non-profit organizations together, enabling discourse and generating new insights. TiWalkMe is an icon. A tourist destination. A venue for important meetings among world leaders. An inspiration, crossing political boundaries. A lasting purpose for a city, and a bastion to survive economic and social turbulence.
flight 93 memorial submission
Heroism. And happenstance.
The Flight 93 Memorial context.
The World Trade Center Memorial is all about consequences after the attack. Flight 93 is uniquely about actions and decisions in the heat of battle.
The Pentagon was a target against whose backdrop its memorial draws resonance. But this one particular, innocuous field in Pennsylvania was anointed by a matter of wind velocity and a few seconds more or less of pitched battle.
Flight 93 is an odyssey, whose narrative lessons of heroism are more telling than the crash site itself, or the aftermath of 9/11.
We designed the entire experience- from the gateway approach through the individual memorials to the impact site, as a story told via words and plants and landscape forms. A story emphasizing the passenger and crew’s explicit decision to take a stand, no matter the consequences. A story to feel in our legs and our beating heart, as well as our head.
A story of The Road Not Taken.
For which we must all be grateful.