Carlos Motta, Artist

Letter to My Father (Standing by the Fence) (2005)

Single channel video

14:16 min., video, sound, color

Letter to My Father (Standing by the Fence) uses the fence around Ground Zero as a signifier of division and as the consequence of political mismanagement. The video addresses the socio-emotional impact that the World Trade Center site, during its reconstruction, had on its visitors. A number of individuals were asked by the artist to take a voice recorder to Ground Zero and speak about “what they saw.” The video presents the resultant “testimonies” juxtaposed with a text articulated by an immigrant narrator using the first person, who asks questions about the dangers of historicizing the present, the meaning of a memorial on a site fraught with economic ambitions, the anachronism of a tourism of spectacle, and about ideas of nationalism versus a “foreign” identity.