Man Bartlett

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Remembering this important day in our nation’s history through photos from the critically-acclaimed exhibition “September 11” at MoMA PS1 (2010), a show which left an indelible impact on my heart, my mind, and my soul.

Photo credit (all photos):

Installation view of “September 11” at MoMA PS1, 2011. Photo: Matthew Septimus.

on september 11, 2001 i was at emerson college in boston. i had a class that morning, and this was before we knew everything instantly anywhere, so i didn’t find out about the attacks until after my class was over. the towers had already fallen. i remember watching a classmate walk up and down the block in sheer horror asking people what happened; he said his father worked there.

after watching the news for a little on a big screen in the college cafeteria i left for the subway to go back to my apartment in brookline. everything was so quiet and everyone so shocked into a sort of befuddled silence. it was like a subway of ghosts. earlier that morning i had been listening to pet sounds. i pressed play on my discman and ‘god only knows’ started playing.

i was wearing a navy blue vintage collared polyester shirt and light brown corduroys. 

that day marked the death of my naive youth, and the beginning of a dark time in american foreign, domestic and economic policy. one that i have protested on and off over the years. hell i protested the afghanistan war for various reasons. yet a sustained “opposition” has never really been my style. on the surface this can look disingenuous, but only if one judges ones values by how big their protest sign is.

last year i briefly committed the majority of my energy and spirit to occupy wall street. my involvement was a culmination of sorts. of things i’d been thinking without realizing it. of principles i’d conveniently forgotten about as my art career and more human concerns took precedence. it was reinvigorating to say the least. yet being arrested ultimately made me realize that within that particular protest model, even as progressive and innovative as it is/was, the state always wins. or rather the amount of sustained energy required for any such attempt is beyond my capacity. regardless the problematic component of that for me is that the focus wasn’t the state, per se, but rather the people and corporations (there is a difference) who profited so heavily off of financial destruction of individuals. plenty of economists and cultural pundits much smarter than myself have remarked on the severity of the issue of income disparity in this country. and as population growth models continue to show an increasingly complicated future, so do the issues surrounding the effects of peak oil. as does the notion that we have for so long considered resources to be infinite. again, smarter folks have spoken about it more eloquently, but, more or less capitalism itself depends on the very notion that resources are unlimited. this is highly problematic, to say the least.

inevitably at this point in the conversation i am gripped by a certain helplessness about humanity’s plight. an existential crisis. in fact it happened just the other day in conversation with an artist friend of mine. luckily humor saved the day, as per usual.

in any event, the progressions above (which are a cyclical thought spiral), have led me to believe that all i can do is attempt to live my own life as honestly and purely as possible. and as non-dogmatically, for that matter.

the quote “be the change you you want to see in the world” as attributed to ghandi, apparently never existed as such. according to the new york times, the closest attributable ghandi quote is: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a [hu]man changes his [or her] own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him [or her]. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

yes. that.

and to that end i could probably spend some time here talking about what it’s been like doing @occupyman for almost a year now. but i’ll leave that for another time. there’s other work to be done first.

Which is in part why the Janet Cardiff piece pictured above effected me so much.

Man Bartlettows, OccupyMan