ALL THAT REMAINS
“All That Remains (aka Dust Bowl) is dust that was on my belongings I rescued from our destroyed art loft (across the street from the World Trade Center in the aftermath of September 11, 2001).”
Janette MacKinlay Artist, Activist
Fourth in the series, “9/11: A Survivor’s Story,” All That Remains is made of an aluminum and glass vase, World Trade Center debris and dust, and dried berries. Photographed by Lise Gulassa
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Janette MacKinlay was in her fourth floor art loft at 110 Liberty Street, across from the World Trade Center. Instead of beginning the day at a tower fitness club as usual, she watched stunned as two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. When the towers collapsed, the windows of the loft imploded, dust spewed everywhere. Janette fled, a wet towel over her mouth.
Janette’s “self-prescribed therapy” to heal from the trauma of being “an eyewitness, survivor, and displaced resident of the attacks of September 11, 2001,” is art — creating narrative arrangements — organic assemblages. She fuses her longtime passion for contemporary art and design with a more recent fascination with Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging.
“The return to the place was hell.. a living hell. We knew what to expect because we had seen it about an hour after the towers came down, but it was still a grim reality that had to be faced. There was a layer of dust on everything,” Janette wrote in her book, FORTUNATE: A Personal Diary of 9/11. Eerily, she predicted, “I am going to be haunted by the dust for the rest of my life.” In an honest, inward look, Janette admitted, “The dust seemed to have an emotional impact on me.”
That feeling led her to create All That Remains also called Dust Bowl, a round, see-through container filled with the dust collected from her loft and adorned with fallen petals at the base.
Janette also passed a sample of the dust to physicist Dr. Steven Jones, then a professor at Brigham Young University. His analysis found chips of nanothermite, indicative of high grade explosives. U.S. military laboratories developed and a few defense contractors produce the sophisticated explosive. Analyses of the dust from Janette and other samples by an international team of scientists point to explosives planted in the towers, not jet fuel as the government maintains, demolishing the towers.
But, in a cruel twist, the dust now expresses in yet another way in Janette’s life. In January, she was operated on for a fast growing brain tumor, the kind her doctor said is “associated with construction workers.” More than 800 first responders and others working and living near Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11 have died from the toxic dust; thousands more are sick.
February 19, around the time Janette underwent surgery for the tumor, 1000 architects and engineers (Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth) citing the dust findings along with other evidence, called on Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a federal grand jury investigation of Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) officials, alleging they proffered “fraudulent accounts” in their reports on the towers’ destruction on 9/11.
Educating herself about 9/11 was also part of Janette’s healing from its shockwave. The exploration connected her with the 9/11 truth group in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she also has a home. She hosted benefit events with 9/11 organizations across the country, sharing her journey from terror to awareness and action, shepherding others from denial to discovery.
Just as symbols are the rudimental elements of dreams, Janette uses dynamic images to narrate her 9/11 passage. Just as dreams can singularly tell a story, Janette believes artistic expression holds special communicative power. She told me in April, 2009, at an exhibit of her second post-9/11 collection at the Claudia Chapline Contemporary Art Gallery, the experience of creating and showing Organic Assemblages marked the culmination of her emotional healing from September 11, 2001. As she described each object in the exhibit, her vibrancy, accentuated with an iridescent blue streak in her hair, and the bright colors and iconic images conferred testament.
Now, her speech sometimes garbled, Janette creates more organic narratives, once again calling upon her art to disclose and to mend. To honor Janette, her attachment to the truth, her quiet activism, the beauty of her art and of her being, PDJ is featuring All That Remains, a bowl filled with dust from the collapse of the Twin Towers, a waking dream-like, layered emblem of 9/11.
Most of all, we send Janette — friend, heroine, maker of beauty — massive doses of healing energy.
– Joyce Lynn