Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Falling Man

Google "falling man" and this image comes up time and time again. I will follow suit and post the image, but with the pertinent question: is it ethical to post this image? Also, how does the photograph function today?

DeLillo's novel Falling Man refers to this famous picture. In the text, a performance artist recreates the photo by placing himself at strategic locations around the city and jumping from a building tethered by a single rope. In the process, he assumes the position of the man in the photo. DeLillo's text asks the important question: "Falling Man as Hearless Exhibitionist or Brave New Chronicler of the Age of Terror" (220).

I believe DeLillo is asking us to remain shocked out of our daily routines, not to let 9/11 become simple history, and relearn the lessons of the event each day. Is this giving too much value to terrorism? Is performance art that interrupts our daily lives an important aspect in postmodern society? If art does not interrupt, what will?


Monica said...

But how often does art (or performance art) really "interrupt"? It seems to me that most people don't even know what it is, and should they experience it they would be confused. For the people who care enough to think about what it means, the "event" of the performance might be a positive thing. But how many people really stop to think about it in a way that changes them?

hdgie411 said...

While this image may seem to be a sore spot for many Americans, I do not think it is a question of ethics. The point of art is to cause an emotional reaction within the viewer. Even though this image took place on a terrible day and under terrible circumstances, as a piece of art it is still very moving. When you look at museums of modern art, there are paintings, pictures, and pieces of the building that are all considered to be some of the most important pieces of our time. Not many people can look at a picture of the devestation that was caused on 9/11 and not be moved in some way. Art is not controlled by ethics, rather, ethics are often set and the boundaries are pushed by art.

Today this image acts as a reminder of how vulnerable America was on 9/11, its own people were jumping out of buildings to escape the terrible death that would have been faced. I do not think this art gives any value to terrorism, it is just a reminder of what happened. It is important that we learn from what happened and do not forget that it could happen again.

reduserisk said...

Art doesn't interrupt it in my opinion. When people don't understand some type of art it forces them to stop for a second and thing. Its not just shoved down their throat like every other piece of information or media now days. Art is an integral part of a postmodern society and it helps us come to harsh or even enlightening realizations that would otherwise never have come, or would have come in a much more real and painful manner.

rjrpat said...

In today’s world we see modern art that does not necessarily hit on emotions that we use every day or even every week. When it comes to most art, we look at pictures, paintings, and other art forms from an outside perspective not really knowing who it is nor where they came from. I believe the reason why this picture has caused so much controversy is due to that fact that everyone who sees this picture knows it’s from 9-11 and knows that it is one of our own, one of our nations brothers falling to his death due to a terrorist attack. If we turn on the news we could see other massacres, or terrorist attacks and not shed a tear, but when we see our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, Uncles and Aunts being killed or self sacrifice we become an emotional wreck. These are the emotions that are not commonly hit by art and can then be seen as adding value to terrorism. If these emotions from art cannot interrupt our daily lives then not much else will.