"At what point does a personal item become an artifact?" asks Don Goede, curator of Odium Theologicum, an exhibit featuring objects and rubble from the fallen World Trade Center towers following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "It's amazing just looking at these items and imagining where they were moments before the disaster."
Goede, a Springs native who lived in New York for eight years and recently moved back to Manitou Springs, obtained WTC artifacts while still in Brooklyn in the days following the attacks.
"Papers and debris were just blowing in the wind, like volcanic ash. The city had these Dumpsters in my neighborhood for two days that were brimming over and spilling onto the street," said Goede. "I didn't know why at the time, but I had an urge to collect a few items from the trash. I knew somehow that it was important."
The trash bins disappeared on the third day, and now, three years later, Goede has realized a potential for the collected artifacts. Odium Theologicum offers visitors a rare opportunity to see pieces from the twin towers firsthand. Among the items are singed office papers, a crushed computer disk, a license plate and a $3,285.87 check.
New York Times articles and other media sources relating to Sept. 11 are also included, as well as amateur video documentation.
"This is not intended so much as an exhibition, but rather as a community awareness project," said Goede.
Goede confesses to being slightly weary over public response to his project. For many people, the events of 9/11 still hit too close to home, and sensitivity around the issue may force some to question the intent of his exhibit. But much as a war memorial or Holocaust museum serves as a poetic reminder of the past and an educational tool, Odium Theologicum presents a willing public with an opportunity to tangibly confront the dialogue surrounding 9/11.
Each visitor will hear something different from the silent items. These papers were trading hands and carrying information to people before the planes hit, then suddenly they were blown out with the collapse. Here lies an incomplete action, a new viewpoint from which a story may be told.
As for the title, Odium Theologicum?
"It comes from Latin roots; it essentially means 'religious difference,' said Goede. "I kept hearing the term in the news after September 11; it seemed fitting for the exhibit."
Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell explained odium theologicum as "the most savage controvers[y] to which there is no good evidence either way, only opinion." Another definition interprets the term this way: "We express hatred and we endure odium -- one being passive, the other active -- but odious characterizes the qualities that inspire hatred."
Ponder the term for yourself during a stroll through Goede Art Space and discover what the artifacts evoke in you. Odium Theologicum will be free to the public and donations will be accepted in support of September Space, a nonprofit based in New York City. September Space, founded out of the volunteer effort post-9/11, serves to educate volunteers on disaster preparedness and to provide support services to workers, survivors and victims' families.
-- Matthew Schniper
capsule Odium Theologicum: A 9/11 Remembrance Exhibition
Goede Art Space, 1405 S. 8th St.
Opening reception Saturday, Sept. 11, 6 10 p.m.; exhibition runs through Sept. 25
Open noon to 5 p.m., Mon. Sat., evening viewing available by appointment
Free to the public, donations accepted to support September Space in New York City
For more information or to make an appointment, contact curator Don Goede at email@example.com or call Goede Art Space at 632-2662.