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9/11 RENEWAL/REBIRTH

GENESIS

The 9/11 RENEWAL/REBIRTH project is RT Livingston's eyewitness account of the year following the tragic events of September 11, 2001 that jolted our nation into the new millennium.

"On September 11, 2001, I was in the final stages of packing before the sale and closing of my upstate New York farm. With no television, I relied on several radios placed strategically throughout the house and studio. I didn’t see the horrific footage until later that evening.

Those staying at my Hudson Street loft, just nine blocks north of the World Trade Center, evacuated through ankle deep ash.

I didn’t get back to my loft for nearly two weeks. In doing so, I was required to prove residency before passing through blockades manned by Army Reservists.

From late September 2001 until the first anniversary of 9/11 on September 11, 2002, I documented the sad and painstakingly slow renewal and rebirth of Lower Manhattan.

Equipped with only a small Olympus Stylus Epic 35 mm point and shoot camera as well as a small 8 mm cassette Sony video camera I wandered the streets of Lower Manhattan day and night often sneaking beyond guard posts or making friends with military personnel as I documented the surrounding areas. The imagery, often gritty and sometimes out of focus, was quickly snapped as a means of avoiding having the film and/or equipment confiscated. I didn’t rely on the polish of the print to tell the tale. I relied on its guts.

Gradually police, fire fighters, construction workers, EMT workers, those employed downtown, those looking for the missing, those mourning the dead plus the growing pilgrimage of tourists added congestion to chaos. Over the course of the year every fence in Lower Manhattan became the armature for mourners to hang their hearts.

9/11 RENEWAL / REBIRTH reminds us of our potential for rebuilding a bridge, even with extremism on the rise, to a safer more tolerant world."- RT Livingston

The collection of photographs and video in the 9/11 RENEWAL/REBIRTH exhibition have been donated by RT Livingston to UCSB Library Special Research Collections.