Tuesday, February 16, 2010

UPDATED BLOG: Organizing the Work Product on 14th Street: Mourn-sims or Grief-sims?

My God. Not only did they invent the victims, they invented the mourners too! Can we as the ultimate observers be real then?

The following three images are said to be of victim memorials, assembled with missing persons posters, at different locations on 14th Street in New York City, following the attacks of September 11th 2001. They are attributed to three different photographers: B G Karney [on 14th Street], James Sullivan [on 14th Street and Avenue C], and Olga Maryschuk [at SW corner of 14th St. and Avenue A] and are all found online in the 911digitalarchive.org galleries.

For quite a while now, I've taken Mr. James Sullivan at his word when he says he photographed the mural "on Avenue C and 14th Street." Since the two other images are very similar, but in some respects, are mutually exclusive, I arrived at the erroneous conclusion they all represented internal fabrications, where the various image elements were being manipulated using computer morphing technology. Such a default analysis is all the rage in certain nihilistic, 9/11 research circles.

For instance, in one image, the peaked gold roof of a skyscraper sits before the two trade center towers, but in another image, the same gold-roofed building sits beside only one trade tower, with the other details obscured or shaded out. This putative scene is next to a doorway on the right, rather than a further mural scene as the alternate image has it, which makes the semi-permanent street architecture they share inexplicably at odds.

In another point of comparison, a red heart with white lettering is seen painted high up in two of the images---but in one, it's to the right of a doorway; in the other, it's located to the right of a black-painted air ventilator. Such irreconcilability was like a bottomless pit of trickery, to the point, I even began to imagine girls dressed in Catholic-school uniforms were standing in ways impossible for mammalians, given the field of depth.

My conclusion was these various digital elements contained visual vocabulary pieces that were being morphed in an illusory ruse. The only counterargument I had---perhaps---was whoever had created the depicted work, might have made also made a copy, using similar iconographic elements of gold-roofed towers and red hearts, but assembled it in different ways, in at least two locations along 14th Street---but then that begged the next question, why?

"Memorial on 14th street in Lower Manhattan. This memorial was in honor of family and friends lost in the attacks on 9/11." Cite as: B G Karney, Image #2047, The September 11 Digital Archive, 9 August 2003, above.

"I took this picture on 9/18 after having revisited Ground Zero. It is a mural on Avenue C and 14th Street in Manhattan. I was particularly struck by the eerie irony of the traffic sign." Cite as: James Sullivan, Image #214, The September 11 Digital Archive, 12 April 2002, above.

"Sept. 17, 2001. Schoolgirls on the SW corner of 14th St. and Avenue A, NYC.
"Did you know anyone there?" "No, but my mom knew a lady cop." Cite as: Olga Maryschuk, Image #199, The September 11 Digital Archive, 3 April 2002, above.
Finally, however, I spotted a telling detail in one image, which reorganized my awareness and put to rest this line of questioning. First, Mr. James Sullivan has made a simple mistake in saying he took the image at a location on Avenue C. Whether he deliberately was mistaken, in order to confuse questioners like myself, only leads to the dangerous shoals of an irrational debate. Mr. Sullivan will be unable to mislead me again.

Given the paranoia that new technologies are engendering as they are misused to affect our perception functions, I got caught up in this new game of guessing real motives and tactics, while living in a world made up of fakery elements. I understand how high the stakes are, when one side is continually operating in what amount to the "crime of the millennium," which isn't an exaggeration to say, given September 11th, and the illegal and immoral wars which stem from it.

My insights into the image record only came about after I'd searched and found some higher resolution versions of the images to work with. We 9/11 truth and justice questlings are all accustomed to the substandard fare fed us, the attributes which we accept without fear. But don't forget to ask for better service and we just might get it. I remain humbled and dependent on the source who can provide me with more of such high-resolution goodies. I definitely know it is a power greater than myself at work!

Click on the Karney image above---you should be able to see, as I did, in the oblique view of the red heart, the clear white lettering, which spells out the inverted words "Crying Hearts." For a bonus point, note the inverted numbers on the edge of the adjacent window awning, which are "0905." This is not the phone numbers for the dry cleaning business there. But rather, they are the last four digits of the phone number for the pizza joint that neighbors the mural site on the other side. This means the Sullivan image is just a flipped, mirror image of the other two scenes, with the numbers and letters reading backwards, in the style of L. DiVinci. Some plot thickening perhaps?

I found the location these images represent, over at Google Maps. The address is 224 Avenue A, and both the businesses to either side of the one-story brick structure are the same in Google Maps, as they were when the photographs were taken in 2001.

A scholarly article written by Barbara Kirshenblatt- Gimblett, Kodak Moments, Flashbulb Memories: Reflections on 9/11, gives us specific information about how this mural site came about.
"Memorial wall by graffiti artist Chico, on Avenue A at 14th Street, lower Manhattan. Chico, a celebrated graffiti artist who lives on the Lower East Side, immediately painted this memorial wall to honor the victims of the attack. Neighbors spontaneously brought candles, flowers, pictures, toys, and religious icons to the wall and gathered there to pay their respects to the dead."
Looking at the Google Map street view, I see only a tiny bit of the mural is surviving. That is Chico's signature tag up in the top corner, apparently too high up at the roof line to destroy properly.

I found Kirshenblatt- Gimblett's analysis of the mural's genesis stilted and odd. I no longer believe, as she does, that these sorts of displays, which followed in the aftermath of 9/11, are the result of some "spontaneous memorialization," which is what we are told. By definition, this means they weren't planned by a committee, or orchestrated by anyone, or commissioned by any government force.

But I think the evidence points to the exact opposite as being the truth. Rather than the dissimilar organic acts of unorganized individuals, the missing persons narrative follows a senseless script, where the so-called family members are really only actors playing the roles of distraught survivors for the required public relations benefit. In this analysis, anybody who figures in the narrative at all, is really a partner to the crime.

Getting back to the question of authenticity, I recall, that years ago, a street art memorial like this one, would cost somewhere between five and ten thousand dollars to commission. Why should a successful artist voluntarily go to such trouble for the sake of sentimentality? We don't expect tax attorneys to volunteer their professional services to the public as a way to assuage their grief, why would a talented "ethnic" artist act any differently? Did he have a demonstrable stake in the events of 9/11, that nobody mentioned, or was his "family and friends," gesture, just a generic artistic license?

If Chico did volunteer his "celebrated" services, would it then have been kosher to have other people---non-artists, by the way---overwrite his work by posting fliers, poems, and other assorted ephemera and detritus onto his freshly painted mural surface---treating it as an equivalent to the blank walls and fences, which elsewhere became memorials? That attitude appears on display, where the fruit of someone's talent and generosity was viewed as merely the jumping-off place for more of the same sub-standard craft project applications, which were incorporated in memorials all over the city. Meant as a humanizing element, I think it actually is evidence of the poor judgment, and lack of talent, which underlies the entire government-orchestrated 9/11 narrative.

I recall these Puerto-Rican cultural artifacts from my old neighborhood---the graffiti-wall memorials, with their bodega candles burning mystically before them, which sprang up after the tragic, or premature death of someone seen as deserving memorialization. They were beautiful and moving sights, stylistically complete in their own rights---with the representational art holding iconographic significance for the departed. They also tended to remain basically unmarred for a long time afterwords---evidence of the respect, which was the intent of such memorializing.

Certainly, no one would think to disfigure such a shrine by adding on their own tacky five-and-dime crafting projects, of the sort we saw at every pop-up venue around town. To a degree in New York, but more painfully so in Arlington and Shanksville, these banal memorizations were empty examples of maudlin sensibilities. Seen in the second-hand images that record them, they are always in the poorest of taste, without any genuine sentiment. It's hard to fake a monument---you only have to look at the Pentagon memorial in Arlington to see the unavoidable result of falsity.

So, to me, it doesn't appear like any real Puerto Ricans were art directing this "offering," which has the distinction of looking both too expensive, and too cheap, at the same time.

Moreover, I find lots of internal evidence that points to some real funny business underway here, but not until I saw the rare image below, which was the first to provide a legitimate overview and context to understand the specifics of the site. This view is probably what was originally conceived by the artist "Chico."

That the art work began by being segmented into two unequal halves, which never were complimentary to each other, was a bad choice to start, and there must be some screwy covert rational behind it. A desire seems apparent to give the illusion this low structure consists of more than just one single separately owned and maintained property.

However, if you move around the corner onto 14th Street, (via Google Maps street view,) you see that the building occupied by Dion French Cleaners & Tailors is an exceedingly narrow one. Since a sign up front says, "all work is done on the premises," any legitimately run business would need to occupy the whole building---all the way back to the pizzeria---back where we find the standard large ventilation fan that these sorts of establishments require.

I have no doubt that this "concept" carries meaning, the particulars of which can safely escape me for now. This is even more clear after seeing how the building has been updated, and the mural destroyed (via Google street views.) The primary part of the mural was covered over by an advertising billboard surface, which is commercially rentable. The mural probably exists in good condition under this covering, since Chico's name, and some of his mural colors, can still be seen peeking out from above the addition.

View Larger Map
So why was the rest of the building treated so differently? This is the section which Chico had painted with memorial signage, in the style of a good James Rosenquist. Like the dominant heading---a large God Bless America, which hinted at the potential for a church within, along with the Crying Hearts below it, this half has been inexplicably destroyed with an application of crude white-wash, over which, the area was then allowed to attract the attention of some real graffiti artists, but ones able to limit their tagging to marking just this one section.

There is an exterior door to this section. Although it is equipped with a modern security gate, matching the ones on the building's front windows, this is observed in only one image out of the series. The rest of the time we see a busted up folding gate substituting for the secure one, in what would appear to be aiming for a deliberately substandardized ghetto look.

But an amazing visual aspect is now presenting itself. Found in the recently surfaced image of a wide-angle street view of the entire mural site, it was hitherto a completely unknown element in the original mural decor. It consists of three absolutely massive painterly numerals, of the now-common identifier, 911. But for some unknown reason, perhaps as a perverse act of artistic pentimento, the numbers were deliberately obscured from public view. The 911, done in a flat white paint and oriented on a bias, occupies what is otherwise an unadorned corner of the work. But in what can only be viewed as a deliberate and hostile act of covering up, various fliers and sundry materials have been carefully applied to hide any indication that a numerological component was ever here.

This stunning, over-scale graphic wasn't apparent to my eye in any of the images before, until I deliberately went looking for it and spotted its vestigial remains above. You can see the strong diagonal of the middle digit one, underlying the image. Why such an effort was made to obscure any notice of this date number is very curious indeed. So successfully has it been covered up under a mish-mash collection of missing person's fliers and other assorted jibbies that the very fact of its faux pas existence could once be denied

Left unexplained in all of this is the question of what prompted this kind of behavior.

In the sudden absence of this 911 component number, what exists on the mural as marking the date is a puny dangling, Sept. 11, 2001, which seems cast in a ridiculously under-scaled font, the faint voice like a verbal stepchild within the memorial message. How else do you pay honor to the memory of family and friends whose lives were supposedly savagely ended in an evil tragedy, if you shortchange the historic acknowledgment of the date they departed on?

I can see this was by some design intent, but I can't fathom a motive for why yet. Were the numerals proposed to be spoken in code: Nine, One, One---instead of the Rudi-licious lingual Nine-Eleven? But such a strange behavior as this only adds to my underwhelming sensation that all of the efforts made on behalf of the supposedly missing and the dead, are just faked props, inescapably fraudulent exercises in the absurd.

That an existing form of expressing urban grief could be so mocked and sullied by an overarching program of lesser value, is proof that committees, and not individuals, were at work here.

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