Moving Image
October 2001

An engram is a memory trace. I used the two images from the September 11 attacks that stuck in my mind the most; two moments of media-time that we can go over and over in our heads like we are examining a film loop.

From the geological distance of New Zealand from New York, these frames of footage are the closest thing I have to an actual memory of the day myself.

The first sequence is from a still photo I saw in the newspapers on September 12. It demonstrates the irony of a split second in time being captured on film, which we can mull over for the rest of history. At the moment that this particular person falling from the Trade Centre was photographed, they were okay. They had left the burning building behind them and were still safe from the outcome of their fall. Their body flickers like video does when it is put on pause. They are suspended in this moment of safety; 1/50th of a second of time is expanded for them as a temporal sanctuary.

I was disturbed by the image of the second plane entering the building, so rebuilt the sequence to make it look like a bad animation. A Monty Pythonesque animation that mocks the senselessness of it all. The horror of those images we were shown on television seems somehow encapsulated by the few frames in which the plane was inside the tower. In those few frames the exterior of the building, and thus the situation, seemed for a final instant, to be normal. A last moment of almost-normality.

View engram:

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