On September 11, 2001, at least two hundred people jumped to their deaths from the top stories of New York City’s World Trade Center. According to the New York Medical Examiner’s Office, they are not “jumpers” because they did not wake up with the intention of committing suicide but were rather “forced out” or “blown out” from the buildings. This article explores the phenomena of jumping and falling and questions why it was impossible to commit suicide on September 11. Through an analysis of Richard Drew’s photograph The Falling Man, visual artist Paul Chan’s series The 7 Lights, and the National September 11 Memorial, I propose that in a truly secular world salvation would turn into a downward movement, as opposed to the rapture’s elevation of Christian eschatology. The author concludes that reversed rapture images exemplify how transcendence is re-created and reimagined in a world that claims to be secular.
Research Article|September 01 2018
Reversed Rapture: On Salvation, Suicide, and the Spirit of Terrorism
Public Culture (2018) 30 (3): 465-482.