Impure Matter: A Forensics of WTC Dust

Savage Objects. Ed. Pereira, Godofredo. Portugal: Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda, (2012): 120-140.

Much has been said about the ways in which the smoke and dust clouds of 9/11 momentarily obliterated the human dimensions of the tragedy as Lower Manhattan was shrouded in an incendiary fog that defied all technical attempts at peering directly into the scene of the crime. The bodies of the more than 2,780 missing were not in evidence in these first televisual transmissions, instead they were understood as trapped and possibly interred within the architectural remains of the towers which were themselves still hidden from view by the haze of fallout. But this was a false reading of the image, a mirage if you will, for what the micro-spheres of dust carried were not simply the material remains of the destroyed towers but all of the buildings’ contents including its human occupants. The body was not missing in the images of swirling dust that we witnessed repeatedly those first few days after the tragedy but was emphatically present within each specimen of dust at 1.3 parts per 100.

 

The Microscopic Analysis of World Trade Center Dust

The Microscopic Analysis of World Trade Center Dust

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