Wednesday, September 12

Inside the Sept. 11 'Tribute of Light'

I had an amazing and unexpectedly moving experience last night, thanks to a friend who is working on the annual "Tribute in Light" memorial that takes place every September 11 near Ground Zero.

"Tribute in Light," sometimes called "Towers of Light," projects 88 high-intensity spotlights (Space Cannon searchlights, each four feet tall with a 7,000-watt xenon bulb) from near the former site of the World Trade Center, creating a ghostly echo of the towers that once dominated the New York skyline.

Gustavo Bonevardi, one of the architects who conceived the project in the hours after the towers fell, described it like this:
We set out to "repair" and "rebuild" the skyline—but not in a way that would attempt to undo or disguise the damage. Those buildings are gone now, and they will never be rebuilt. Instead we would create a link between ourselves and what was lost. In so doing, we believed, we could also repair, in part, our city's identity and ourselves.
The lights can be seen from towns and cities as much as 60 miles away. In fact, airplane pilots report seeing them from when flying over the Midwest. Where they intersect with the clouds, they create a huge glow. The lights are turned on at about 5 pm so that they slowly become visable as the sky darkens. In the morning, they are turned off only after the morning sun makes the sky too bright for them to be seen.

The project is housed on the roof of a parking garage on Greenwich St in lower Manhattan. We rode an elevator up with people picking up their cars, getting off on the 7th floor, and were immediately awestruck.

From inside each circle of 44 spotlights, it's like there are dozens of massive light sabers reaching up into the sky, intersecting hundreds of feet in the air. It was wonderful and sobering and sad, all at once.

Thanks to Scott for a night to remember!

Read more about the project:


Jeff said...

Hey Kelly - That's the ultimate Merge into 1.

PS. I'd post this comment on Kelly's blog if she ever updated it and did a post about the lights.

JDizzle said...

How beautiful!!!!