Imperial War Museum Launches 9/11 Exhibition

10th Anniversary Marked by multiple shows

On the morning of 11 September 2001, nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger planes in the United States. Two planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing both towers to collapse. A third plane was crashed into the Pentagon, just outside Washington DC. The fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania after the crew and passengers attacked the terrorists on board, preventing it from hitting another target in the US capital. These events took place in less than two hours. The attacks killed 3,000 people, including the loss of 67 British lives. The vast majority of the dead were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries. A few days later, US President George W Bush declared a ‘War on Terror’ and on 7 October 2001 an invasion of Afghanistan was launched. American, British and Afghan United Front (Northern Alliance) forces were deployed to destroy al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban regime that had harboured the terrorist group in Afghanistan. Almost ten years on, military operations in Afghanistan continue. However, on 2 May 2011 the head of al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by US Special Forces.

The Imperial War Museum presents two new displays – Memory Remains (IWM London), a photographic exploration of Hanger 17 by artist Francesc Torres and In the Spotlight  (IWM North) where artefacts from The World Trade Center will be on display – to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. IWM London Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17 by Francesc Torres  26 August 2011 – 26 February 2012 Following the devastation of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the recovery effort began and the 16-acre site underwent the careful and lengthy process of being cleared. A small group of architects and curators slowly began to fill the empty shell of Hangar 17 at John F Kennedy International Airport with debris and material cleared from the site, transforming it into a storehouse of memories. Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, was granted access to explore inside the hangar and produced an extensive series of photographs reflecting on the emotional power of what remained after 9/11. With a lifelong interest in questions of human memory and meaning, Torres’ work centres on the concept that it is through the remains of history that memory remains.

Frances Torres, says: “Having watched the graphic destruction from my apartment, only two blocks from the Twin Towers, when I entered Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport for the first time in 2006, I was immediately hit by the deep sense that the objects I was confronted with, from large shards of rusted and burnt steel to bikes left forever by their owners, were the symbolic substitutes of the victims. Their overwhelming presence stood for all the people that lost their lives that late summer day a decade ago”.9/11 Memorial Museum Director Alice Greenwald says: “Francesc Torres spent five weeks at Hangar 17 in 2009, daily confronting the legacy of terror and the ghosts of ground zero.  In photographs of exceptional sensitivity and insight, he has captured both the monumental scale of loss in the wake of the terror attacks and the excruciating intimacy of personal effects that remain as testaments to those unwittingly caught in the maelstrom of destruction.  Through Torres’ eyes, we can see the potential for resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.” Memory Remains is presented in cooperation with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the International Center of Photography, in association with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.  Original funding for Memory Remains was provided by Paul J. Napoli & Marc J. Bern-Napoli Bern LLP, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institut Ramon Llull, and the Government of Spain – Ministry of Culture.

IWM North In the Spotlight: Remembering 9/11 10 September 2011 – September 2012 A British Union flag recovered from Ground Zero in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, New York, will go on public display for the first time in the IWM North, in Manchester on 10 September 2011. The flag is two metres in width and will be displayed in the Museum’s In the Spotlight exhibit to mark the anniversary. It was presented to Great Britain by the people of the United States, and on the first anniversary of 9/11 it was laid on the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral in a memorial service for victims of the disaster.To mark the anniversary itself, IWM North will be teaming up with Wake Forest University, North Carolina, to give an international performance of two especially composed orchestral pieces in remembrance of the victims of 9/11. The pieces, composed by Kevin Malone, Head of Composition at the University of Manchester will be performed live and internet-streamed across the world to each other venue, as part of this 45 minute event. Diane Lees, Director–General of the Imperial War Museum, says: “The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a turning point in understanding the power and force of contemporary terrorist activity. They changed British and US perceptions of their role in the world and influenced the subsequent foreign policy of both countries, creating an environment of heightened security. US and British military action in Afghanistan began in this climate and continues today”. Within the setting of our Museums in London and Manchester, both  these displays will enable our visitors to reflect on the 9/11 attacks and their human cost, as well as the wider impact of modern conflict on people’s livesIn the Spotlight is a series of exhibits which publicly showcase important objects from the IWM’s collection, which reveal the human stories behind war and conflict.The U.S. Embassy London have generously supported IWM North’s Remembering 9/11 project from September 10 2011 – September 30 2012

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