September 11th from the ISS


This image taken from the International Space Station on September 11th shows the plume of smoke rising from lower Manhattan, crossing Brooklyn and heading out to the Atlantic Ocean. In these times of war some may claim that art in space is as superfluous as one can get. Having lived in New York for seven years, I found myself quite affected by the attacks, questioning everything I was doing. Suddenly art didn't seem that important. Diplomacy, strategy building, activism felt more urgent.

I lost my focus and couldn't write for at least 5 days. I'm sure many people for the first week or two after the attacks were just as unfocussed or even depressed. In my opinion, the main reason for the level of disorientation and shock felt around the globe was because what these terrorists managed to do was to give the world the UNIMAGINABLE. No one could have imagined what passenger jets would look like hitting buildings; that they could disappear into buildings for a split second, to then blow up! No one could have imagined there would be so many video angles of a passenger jet crash, let alone two crashes. No one could have imagined that towers so gigantic could one day leave a hole in the sky. And no one could have imagined that groups of people would one day be forced to jump from the top of the World Trade Center.

What a powerful thing it is to give people the unimaginable. But in these days of tension, paranoia, hatred, bombings, I would say that ISADORA is far from being superfluous. It is in fact a wonderful exercise in civilization (a word being tossed around a lot nowadays); showing the positive and marvel that can come from technology. Not the technological nightmares we all witnessed: the skyscrapers collapsing, the airplanes blowing up, the fighter jets arriving too late or the goodbye messages on answering machines from people on their mobiles. Surely Art and Messages of Peace that come from above in this completely technological yet mysterious medium of orbit could only do the world good. In these times of terror, I say the world sure can use an attack of unimaginable beauty.


Ricky Seabra, November 11, 2001, Amsterdam


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