New York 9/11 – War in times of peace

Christina/ December 10, 2022/ Culture

New York 9/11, the terrorist attacks, the collapse of the twin towers. We will never forget those pictures. Especially as we could not image that something like this is possible. But how about the perspective of the others? What is so special about the subheading: “War in times of peace” that Yadegar Asisi added to the title of his exhibition? I wanted to find that our upon a visit of the Panometer at Leipzig. In my opinion the dispute of the artist with the topic is very impressive. Huge panoramic pictures and installations embody the consequences of the attacks for many people in the world in a calm but impactful manner.

Let there be money!
The items in Asisis’ exhibition are self-explanatory. Huge boards are summarizing the most important facts from 2001 until today. More than 6 Billion US-Dollars were spent for the war on terror during the last 20 years. This sum comes up to half a million US-Dollar per minute over the time period. This unbelievable sum of money is visualized by Asis in the form of two huge golden towers. It is unnecessary to mention what kind of meaningful projects could have been realized with the help of that sum.

Language creates enemy images
Fake news – a term which made its way into day to day language, not only because of Donald Trump. Language creates new identities and therefore enemy images. Manipulation is omnipresent. Faced with today’s flood of information who can really differ between what’s true and what’s not? Negative language symbols about other countries, people and cultures are charged with emotion and are anchoring as stereotypes in our psyche.

Borders become walls
As a consequence of the wars after 9/11 more than 37 million people fleed: because of war, because of terror groups, because of military attacks or corrupt National Security Authorities. Allmost every society in the world pledged oneself to give shelter to refugees. Actually new borders were created, on Sea, on land. How much security did it create?

War starts in the living room

A couple of days after 9/11 president Bush held his speech on war of terror in the US congress. That marked the beginning of 20 years of grieve and destruction since then. To make that clear the artist created a kind of living room with a TV showing president Bush and his speech. Also other statesmen are subscribe to his view. Unforgotten the lie by Colin Powell about alledged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
At the end of the exhibition you enter the 360 degree panoram New York 9/11. It shows, accompanied with soft music, the scenery at the World Trade Center on the morning of 9/11 at 8:41 am, five minutes before the attacks. Knowing about the following tragedies in the middle of the morning hustle within the multicultural Manhattan it feels like an utopian snap-shot. When the attacks starts and the room darkens it gives you the creeps.

To my mind this is a successful exhibition that gets you thinking and shocking.

Memorial or monument?
Next day we pay a visit to the Battle of nations monument of of Leipzig. The monumental structure with a height of 91 metres impresses already from afar. The building was inaugurated in 1913 on the occasion of the centenial jubilee of the Battle of nations. The united armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden gain the decisive victory over Napoleon and his allies on German ground. The outcome: 100.000 deads. And I wonder what this hill of stones stands for. Is it a memorial or a monument? Unfortunately there are not information signs in the building. Therefore the visitor is left to his own devices. Or maybe the visitor is not interested in history anymore but in the ascent of 364 stairs to the 91 metres high observation deck to take the inevitable selfie? Unfortunately we just arrive one hour before closing. Therefore there was too little time for the audio-guide or the corresponding museum.

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