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Boston artists from all genres will gather Sunday to share works inspired by the events of Sept 11. There are concerts, poetry readings, theatrical performances and art installations. One, called “The Witness Project,” is on display at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360.
Multimedia artist Robi Masi collaborated with musician Ken Field in an attempt to bring what happened at New York’s World Trade Center to people here in Massachusetts. (Take a video tour.)
"And the idea was to give people a way to have some sort of a sense of what was there that wasn’t just through the media," Masi explained.
She's visited the World Trade Center eight times since 9/11, first in December 2001. The worst and best of humanity could be felt there, she told me. And that's what she wanted to capture.
In her installation the artist recreates the site’s physical presence with enormous, gritty charcoal drawings of the surviving buildings around the site. Visitors can take in the images while listening to interviews Masi recorded with New Yorkers who were directly affected by the attack.
Masi hopes visitors will find peace through her work, and she’ll be at the gallery Sunday with Field. He produced the exhibit’s sound collages and admits he — like a lot of artists — really struggled in the wake of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago.
"Shortly after 9/11 a group that I play with, Birdsongs of the Mezozoic, had a performance schedule for New York, for October," he said. "And our big question, really, after 9/11 was: should we do this? Should we go down? Is what I’m doing, is sound, is music, something that is important at that moment?"
Field said he and his bandmates came to a conclusion.
"People really needed to hear those kinds of sounds and have an opportunity to in an abstract way, to let their emotions take over," he said.
It’s the same effect 21-year-old producer Alex Arntzen wants to evoke with his big, multimedia concert at Berklee College of Music Sunday night.
"The word that I’ve definitely used since the beginning is a sense of catharsis," he said.
Arntzen, a third-year film composition student at Berklee, organized a cast and crew of more than 100 students, faculty and guests. He says it will be unabashedly patriotic.
"The color guard will come out, they’ll present the flag, Pitch Slap will sing the National Anthem, and then there will be a song about the American flag," he said.
Arntzen is happy to give all the artists who’ve created 9/11-related work an outlet to share it, and to be together on the anniversary. The line up is eclectic, with orchestral music, poetry, dance, Gospel, pop songs, hip hop, rap and electronic music.
In musician Javon Flax's piece, "We Will Always Remember," a voice intones, "Our enemies may have knocked us down, but they will never destroy us. For in the darkest hour the soul is replenished and given the strength to return."
The young producer is striving for an optimistic tone Sunday, but acknowledges it’s impossible to predict just how emotional some people might get. The photographs in the slideshows promise to be quite intense. There will be counselors on hand, he says, if anyone needs to talk about their feelings.
The 9/11 Berklee Memorial Concert will also be streamed live on concertwindow.com.
This program aired on September 10, 2011.
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