Christopher B. Smith
Professor Rick Valentin
Constructing Memories - ATK 388
October 20, 2009
Global Anti-Terrorism Monument
Your design and how you arrived at the final version…
1. Introduce the monument through contextual means.
2. Describe the event or events that the monument is centered around.
3. Develop a demographic or audience for the monuments
4. Walkthrough the design and how it relates to the previous points.
5. Explain the greater meaning to the monument and how it will be viewed in
the INTRODUCTION and CONTEXT
While thinking of an event to base my counter-monument around, there was one
that stood out. Growing up, my most infuriating memory was 9/11. I remember
being hateful, arrogant, naive, racist... all of which made me a so-called "patriot".
My friends at the time also reinforced my anger, for they, too, were in a spiral of
submissive and false patriotism. I even remember using terms like "sand nigger"
and other demeaning language against Muslim people. As I grow older, I look
back in disgust at those years of my life and regret being so cruel. To some
people, this behavior may have been justified given the extreme pressure of the
time, but I still cannot believe how easily manipulated I was – how we all were...
I hope that the people who have a similar story have grown out of this type of
thinking and have moved on with their lives. Now, I am old enough to think for
myself, evaluate situations, use critical thinking, and do my own research. And in
doing so, I have discovered the true reality that I live in.
As we all know, 9/11 has always been a controversial topic. Many documentaries
deal with alternative representations of the event and discuss the possibility of
conspiracy. Many are surprisingly convincing. I should point out that my
counter-monument does not deal with 9/11 conspiracies, or conspiracy theorists,
I just feel it is vital to mention them. I refuse to go into much detail about these
documentaries and the information they contain, but, I do want to mention one
aspect of 9/11 that bothers me the most. Most people do not recall this
happening, but a third tower, World Trade Tower 7, also fell that day. It fell
down just like the other two buildings; faster than free fall. However, this falling
tower was explained by the 9/11 Commissions Report as falling from fires located
on a couple floors. This is the first skyscraper in history to do so. There seems to
be more that meets the eye about 9/11 and a lot of people would rather just sweep
it under the rug and glorify those who died that day. Most people would rather
just move on with their lives… But, that's enough about conspiracies.
The main objective of my counter-monument is to provide a social commentary
on the events that occurred after 9/11. The fastest bill signed in history was the
Patriot Act. It was also a 300 page monstrosity that very few people had the time
or patience to analyze. Congress was easily goofed into signing a bill that gave up
American liberties for security. This is not the only time this has happened. The
recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is more than 3 times
larger and congress received flak in the media for never reading any of it; many
admitted that they did not have time to do so. This seems to be a growing trend
for lobbyists. The larger the bill the more they can get away with.
By using the media and fear, the Bush administration was able to convince
America that terrorism is a real, everyday occurrence and that a terrorist strike
could happen any moment. One way they did this was to create a color coded
terrorist threat level that they splashed on every news station in the country.
Today, this seems completely ridiculous. They also manipulated and over-
exaggerated CIA information to justify their actions and even used this to
construct a reason to go to war in Iraq. We now look back at a President and
congress with the worst approval rating in history. While Americans might have
taken the greatest blow to civil liberties, other countries also felt the wrath of the
“terrorism” extravaganza. Other leaders of the world also used 9/11 and
terrorism to get their civilians to willingly give up their freedoms. The great
linguist Noam Chomsky discusses these issues in a number of books, films and
speeches. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we are left with a bitter
population the feels double-crossed, tricked, angry, and abused. Governments
will continue to manufacture consent.
To me, 9/11 does not stand for an event where America witnessed the worst
terror attacks in history, but rather, the event that opened the floodgates. Out of
these floodgates rush civil liberties, morals, ethics, justice, righteousness, and all
those things that make us human. Tyrannical leaders undermine representation,
which is the main reason this country was fought for. Global organizations
perpetuate social problems and only seem to have interest in helping western
corporations. We are witnessing an age of dehumanization, marginalization, and
globalization. 9/11 was the door that unlocked it all, the beacon of post-modern
withdrawal. It was the event that showed the global elites that it was possible to
stage-manage the world. And, this all was done through media spin, propaganda,
and fear mongering... terrorism at its finest.
The audience consists of all those civilians around the world who are extremely
frustrated for being tricked, abused, and most importantly, who gave up their
civil liberties; those people who do not believe in the terrorism extravaganza and
want their freedoms back. Therefore, at its heart this is an anti-terrorism
The design is of a satirical counter-monument inspired by the visual designs
of Scott McCloud and the sardonic documentaries Michael Moore. It is way
over-the-top and resembles a political cartoon. I think cartoons and humor
are powerful mediums which make ideas more universally acceptable.
Through simultaneous simplification and abstraction, cartoons prove to be an
effective method of delivery.
the materials and symbols
Each part of the monument is made of different materials. The George Bush
section is made of wood referencing his role in office as a puppet. I wanted to
make him look extremely relaxed and careless. Almost as if he is oblivious to
the site’s onlookers. His penis (or fuselage) is made of metal and glass for the
windows. This symbolizes all the planes used in the terrorist attacks. I think
an airplane is the perfect visual symbol for 9/11. In effect, Bush is driving the
destruction of our freedoms. The ejaculate is a fountain of colored water
created through lighting and colored additives. The color depends on the
terrorist threat level of the day, making this a dynamic experience. Bush used
the media to manufacture consent, and the terrorist threat level is the most
preposterous example of this. I thought it would be the easiest to deconstruct
and work well in the satire. The collecting pool is made of stone and marble.
As we all know, these materials have historically been used for government
buildings. At the bottom of this pool lies a giant carved version of the
Constitution. The constitution symbolizes tradition, freedom, equality, and
justice; however, not just in America, but all over the world. It is a
revolutionary document and some people forget about its importance on a
global scale. So… a giant George Bush statue wearing a pink bathrobe is
holding an airplane fuselage-penis, and is discharging on the constitution
with the terrorist threat color of the day.
the CONCLUSION & FUTURE
More than ever we need to learn from our past. We should not be static civilians. It is
our duty to contest our government, and to vote. If our voice is never heard, surely we
will see history repeat itself. We need to remove corruption, extreme lobbying,
corporate fascism, and misrepresentation from our lives. While my monument is
satirical, it still deals with these political situations. It is not to be taken lightly. I hope
that it is a beacon for humanity and progress. This is my social commentary, my Global