Inversion of Light
Toshio Sasaki, Brooklyn, NY
As a human being and a witness to the great tragedies of September 11, 2001, and the 1993 terrorist
bombings, I seek a way to remember and honor the thousands of innocent lives that were lost and the courage of the heroes. I seek to address this project as a challenge to inspire the human mind and to
reaffirm respect for life, to strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and to bring about an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.
The work I envision for the site will consist of the universal elements of light, water, air, and earth. Light, which is eternal and which emanates from the beginning of the universe; water, from which life came; and
earth and air, which nourish life and the living. I propose to create a street-level park that will preserve the
twin towers' footprints and the slurry wall. The park will signify the renewal of life and offer a place for public ceremonies and days of remembrance. The below-grade level beneath the park where the
unidentified-remains area is situated, gives both the victims and their families a serene place for visitation, contemplation, and rest.
To enter the underground area of the memorial, one descends a ramp leading to where the victims are represented as light, water, and air. Within the north tower's footprint, a representative floor plan, based on
those of the ninety-fourth and ninety-fifth floors, is illuminated from below; the light is blocked in the central area of the plan. On the north wall of the memorial, where the first plane hit, an extended curtain of clear
glass will be etched with the names of the lost individuals. The victim's names will be sorted in two main categories, designated by 2001 and 1993. The 2001 category will be organized by locations: World Trade
Center site, Somerset County, Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia. The victim names within these locations will be organized by civilians and non-civilians (military personnel, NYPD, NYFD and other
groups). Behind the glass and along its length and height, water will trickle continuously, representing the eternal movement of life through time. The black-granite east and west walls will be etched with the
memorial mission statement and the heroes' insignias; the east wall with the history of events.
In footprint of the south tower, a reflection pond will serve as a tribute to the spirits of the victims; at night, it
will be illuminated from beneath by a circle of lights projecting into the sky. In winter, the heat of the lights will vaporize the water and create the image of flames on its surface.
The centrally located unidentified-remains area is enclosed in two semicircular glass walls, unified above by a circular skylight that emerges in the curvilinear park. From this central column ripples out a horizontal
configuration that incorporates all elements of the memorial and its surroundings-all columns, the main ramp, all lighting, the museums, the footprints and elements within, and the geography of the surrounding
urban grid, extending to the Statue of Liberty and, perhaps, beyond. From this column a blue laser light shines into the universe, connecting the geometry and geography of the earth with the geometry and
eternity of the universe.
The proposed memorial, conceptually called Inversion of Light, is a living memorial. Dedicated to world
peace, it will ensure that future generations never forget this great tragedy. We, as human beings, hope that we can serve this memory well and lead ourselves toward peacefulness, tranquility, and purity of
contemplation. We, as part of the greater universe, hope to transcend the suffering of any single generation and come to an understanding of the authenticity of eternity and the vindication of truth.
Artist Toshio Sasaki was born in Kyoto, Japan. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Aiichi
University of Fine Arts he came to New York to attend the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He is the recipient of a NYSCA CAPS Fellowship and a NEA Visual Artists Fellowship, and has been recognized by the City
of New York for his wall relief The First Symphony of the Sea at the Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation in Brooklyn. His work has been exhibited in New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, PA and Japan. Mr.
Sasaki currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Model Fabrication: Radii, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
Illustrations/animation: dbox, New York, NY, Audio by Jill Stark
Engineering consultant: Tsuneo Yoshizawa & Weidlinger Associates, Inc.
Model Photography: Jock Pottle/Esto