9/11 Weed Monoprint: May 6, 2002
Susan Rowland (1940 - 2019): 9/11 Weed Monoprint
During the winter after the attack on the World Trade Center, I obsessively read W.G. Sebald’s novels about destruction, memory and landscape. His stories reminded me that the butterfly bush, Buddleia, is revered by Europeans as the first plant to return after the firebombing of their cities. I wondered what would grow around our ruins in the first spring after 9/11.
I know the persistence of plants as for several years I have been making monoprints of city weeds from parking lots, cracks in the sidewalk, gutters and demolition sites. When the first spring growth of 2002 appeared on my Brooklyn sidewalk, I went over to the chaotic destruction area to look for green.
On that day, March 11, 2002, the only sprouts I found were at the base of the south side of a building on Edgar Street. With Marina Ancona at Ten Grand Press, I printed those tiny green leaves. I was never allowed into the center of the site, hardhat territory, but all summer I walked the circumference and collected 22 annual species growing from seeds that had been buried under rubble and ash. On each print I have written where the plant was growing and have stamped the latitude and longitude of the center of the World Trade site, the target.
Rowland’s 9/11 Weed Monoprints are in the collection of the Whitney Museum among other exhibitions and publications.