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February 10 , 2008

Learning How to Fall

Art and Culture after September 11


Beginning with Richard Drew’s controversial photograph of a man falling from the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, Learning How to Fall investigates the changing relationship between world events and their subsequent documentation, asking:


  • Does the mediatization of the event overwhelm the fact of the event itself?
  • How does the mode by which information is disseminated alter the way in which we perceive such information?
  • How does this impact upon our memory of an event?


T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko posits contemporary art and performance as not only a stylized re-envisioning of daily life but, inversely, as a viable means by which one might experience and process real-world political and social events. This approach combines two concurrent and contradictory trends in aesthetics, narrative, and dramaturgy: the dramatization of real-world events so as to broaden the commercial appeal of those events in both mainstream and alternative media, and the establishment of a more holistic relationship between politically and aesthetically motivated modes of disseminating and processing information.


By presenting engaging and diverse case studies from both the art world and popular culture – including Aliza Shvarts’s censored senior thesis at Yale University, Kerry Skarbakka’s provocative photographs of falling, Didier Morelli’s crawl through Toronto, and Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom – Learning How to Fall creates a new understanding of the relationship between the event and its documentation, where even the truth of an event might be called into question.

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