Friday, 10 September 2010

Screening 9/11 and its aftermath in film and media studies

Image from In America (Jim Sheridan, 2002), the first film to be (partly) shot in New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to Seán Crosson's article "‘They can't wipe us out, they can't lick us. We'll go on forever pa, ‘cause we're the people'..." (2008)
The absence of the Twin Towers from the post-9/11 New York City skyline posed a number of dilemmas for the creators and producers of television shows and movies that were ‘symbolically’ set in New York City after 9/11. Whilst the World Trade Center towers had been destroyed, editors in studio lots in California faced the prospect of the late 2001 ratings season commencing with stock reels of New York City that prominently featured the Towers prior to 9/11. This posed an odd dilemma for the producers of television shows such as Friends, Sex and the City, and Spin City, programs in which the Twin Towers often appeared as a backdrop and a powerful signifier of being in New York City. The response seemed universal – the Twin Towers must be removed from the tele-visual pop-cultural locations. They needed to be purged, exorcised and air- brushed out of the shot. But by airbrushing out the Towers, the producers have purged post-9/11 television of more than just the steel and concrete of the iconic buildings. I suggest that this purging is powerful, a little odd, and deeply symbolic. In order to recover, perhaps some space – and some forgetting, if only temporary – was needed. But I argue that the missing Towers also represented a missing terror, a missing city. It was as though the creators and producers of some post-9/11 television believed that the world’s viewers would have no stomach for seeing images of a pre-9/11 New York City – a city that in many respects no longer existed. Perhaps the problem lies in how the destruction of the Twin Towers was witnessed – live on TV, in real-time, as heinous, immediate and real violence. It was ugly, sickening, horrific, terrifying. Yet it was also difficult to look away. [Luke John Howie, 'Representing Terrorism: Reanimating Post-9/11 New York City', International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol 3, No 3 (2009)]

It is the eve of another anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America.

Film Studies For Free respectfully remembers the tragic and traumatic events of nine years ago tomorrow, and other closely related ones since, with a list of links to important, insightful, and openly accessible studies of the cultural depiction and (re)media(tiza)tion of the 9/11 attacks, as well as of their aftermath.


Anonymous said...

As usual, this is a stunning collection of resources and for that I thank you.
I was, admittedly, disappointed that the Tactical Media Virtual Casebook: 9/11 and After, was not included here. This is a particularly interesting project as the plans for a Tactical Media casebook at NYU were under way when 9/11 happened, and what resulted was an effort to think through new media and cultural activism in the midst of a dramatic shift in the global political landscape.
The casebook offers contributions from a remarkable array of scholars, activists and artists including Barbara Abrash, Patricia Aufderheide, Gregg Bordowitz, Faye Ginsburg, Dee Dee Hallek, Marianne Hirsch, Natalie Jeremijenko, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Geert Lovint, Patricia Spyer and Diana Taylor (among others). It would be a shame to miss this:

-- Leshu Torchin

Catherine Grant said...

Leshu, thanks so much for saving my embarrassment by alerting me to this hugely valuable resource. I can't believe this one passed me by on my search, but it did. So it's great to be able to add it now. And the list is so much more 'complete' now. That said, I'm bound to have missed other essential items, so if anyone knows of any others please comment. Thanks again for doing so, Leshu..

Anuja Jain said...

Another wonderful essay worth adding to this list -

Ranjani Mazumdar, "Cracks in the Urban Frame: The Visual Politics of 9/11" in Sarai Reader 04: Crisis/Media. Eds. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Monica Narula, Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram,
Jeebesh Bagchi & Awadhendra Sharan. New Delhi: Sarai Media Lab, 2004.

Saralyn said...

A wonderful collection of articles! I just wanted to point out that it seems that the link location for the Knight article has changed to:

Joel Bocko said...

Wow, this is incredible. I've been considering devoting a series to post-9/11 series on my own blog - films, documentary and fiction, dealing with the attack, the subsequent wars, and other aspects of the zeitgeist, with an emphasis on how, among other things, these works reflect larger trends in the culture and public perceptions. These essays (who knew there would be so many?) will undoubtedly be consulted and cited in whatever I end up doing with this notion. Extensive thanks.

Unknown said...

This is an awesome collection. Many I am aware of and many I am not!