Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Question time.

Event: The New York Historical Society (which touts itself as New York City's oldest museum and research library) began an exhibition of artifacts and photographs from the world trade center site following the destruction of the buildings six years back on September 11th.

Question: Is it a reflection on the relative newness of the society and the culture of America that artifacts only about six years old are shown at a place that carries the name ‘Historical’ as part of its facade or is it because we are living in the vat of information and factual gluttony that regurgitates events barely six years old into offerings of history?

"Here is New York: Remembering 9/11" will, in addition to photographs, employ artifacts (for example, a piece of landing gear – from United Airlines Flight 175 or American Airlines Flight 11), artwork, videotapes, and audiotapes.

Augustus Vincent Tack (1870-1949), 'Epiphany', Oil on canvas laid on panel, 44" X 43", 1922


Jafabrit said...

The only thing I can think of is that 9/11 became a seminal moment in America's history, not just the act itself but politically and economically.

Hungry Hyaena said...

Whatever the criteria, I find it interesting how quickly the public now accepts official "history." Granted, academia's 1990s post-modern frenzy saw to it that many left-leaning folks questioned historical narrative (the official line of the wealthy white men kinda thing), but in 2007 events so recent (6 years!) can be readily absorbed into the cultural mythology (which, after all, what we call history) is cause for alarm.

Sunil said...

Yes, this was a little strange and disturbing. Like I said maybe the total quanta of events are so large and flying by our faces with so much speed and regularity that 6 year old things seem historical. At this rate, I guess our parents must be classified ancient..

Scenic Artisan said...

i wonder if people often see themselves as cultural anthropologists before they see themselves as contemporary humans.

its a way of partly existing in and partly distancing oneself from our times.

Sunil said...

Sometimes the crush of culture and the anthropological effects are so strong that contemporary humanism is watered down to the point of being transparent. Through that lens the effects of culture are even more amplified.