Harry Lawson

I’m currently in the middle of an MA in Sculpture at The Royal College of Art

I think I see my work as a kind of archaeology of the present. Currently I’m researching the events of 9/11, which happened just over a decade ago now. Today almost everyone I know can recall exactly where they were that day. Last year I visited New York for the first time, and at one point ended up near The World Trade Centre site. I decided to take a look, almost as a token thing, without seriously thinking about what I was doing. There was pretty much nothing to see, just a huge barrier around Ground Zero where the 9/11 memorial and the new One World Trade Centre was being constructed. I hadn’t been directly involved in 9/11 and it felt disrespectful that I had arrived there the way I did. Later that day I couldn’t sleep, and started to re-watch some footage from 9/11. It’s still every bit as captivating now as it was then. The sheer scale of it is so overwhelming. No wonder the composer Stockhausen called it ‘The greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos.’

Clearly the moral dilemma of researching 9/11 as an artist continues to worry me. The tension around this has made me tread incredibly cautiously around making artworks containing references to 9/11, particularly the imagery. My hope is to relax the viewer into rethinking what is happening to 9/11 as it passes into history, and how it is affecting the way we look and think through time.

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