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about Myrel Chernick's
ABOVE: Details from Myrel Chernick's video "Out My Window."
Photographs courtesy Myrel Chernick.
Myrel Chernick is a New York artist who witnessed the destruction of the Twin Towers through a window in her Soho loft. The public was invited to see her 17 minute colour video tape "Out My Window," and to hear Ms Chernick speak about her work, on Wednesday 12 March 2003 at noon.
Out My Window tells the story of my personal experience of September 11, 2001 and its immediate aftermath, as documented through my window and elsewhere in Manhattan and New York State.
I am an artist who has lived in a loft in lower Manhattan for over twenty-five years. About fifteen years ago we broke through the south wall of our building to add a large window in our bedroom, and with it came my splendid view of the World Trade Center. Although I did not feel that the structure was architecturally distinctive, its sheer size and position in the sky and in my window, and its interaction with the weather, dominated my visual life. I taped and photographed my view of the towers in the moonlight, during thunderstorms, at sunset and sunrise, whenever I marveled at a dramatically clear or cloudy sky, over and over again.
On September 11 my husband and I found ourselves at home and heard the first plane flying overhead and watched it crash into the tower. At that time, not anticipating the gruesome outcome of the days events, from instinct or habit or interest, I ran to my camera and set it up at the window to tape the burning building, as did many of the video artists I know.
During the confusion and the terror of the following weeks, in my horror and fascination, I continued to tape the World Trade Center site and the neighborhoods where I live and work. I found myself questioning almost every aspect of my artistic life, and kept a daily journal of my thoughts.
After several months had passed, I was able to look at the original tape again, and became determined to use it in some way. I based the structure of the subsequent piece on fragments of my journal, and included original footage already in my possession as well as additional shots dictated by the writing.
The result is a highly personal account of a universal tragedy, horrifying and sad, as well as informative and beginning to heal. The seventeen minute tape opens with a long shot of sunrise over the towers, which introduces the viewer to the window and my point of view. This is followed by a sequence of still images culled from my archives, while I read from one of my original journal entries. After September 11, I record my thoughts during non-chronological events of the next three weeks. My son, a student at Stuyvesant High School not far from the towers, figures prominently in the story, as well as the now empty view through the window.
Gallery One One One, School of Art, Main Floor, FitzGerald Building, University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, Winnipeg, MB, CANADA R3T 2N2 TEL:204 474-9322 FAX:474-7605
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