Concept and Description: The Monument “People Against Adversity” was inspired by New York’s heroic response to Hurricane Sandy, the most destructive and deadly natural disaster in the history of the East Coast, and its imagery was derived from the hurricane. It is a dynamic theatrical presentation, which juxtaposes water and people as foes. The fierce conflict, starts with the attack of the first and ends with the victory of the latter.
But the monument, a play in three acts, uses the hurricane only as a starting point. Its message is much broader. Working on the 9/11 Memorial, several years earlier, convinced me that monuments and memorials have an important role in affecting society’s present and future. And thus, “People Against Adversity” raises the power of our togetherness as the only weapon against a threat.
Water stands as a symbol for any powerful natural element, which we need to tame and overcome in order to survive. It is also a metaphor for any other phenomenon that tears us apart, inflames hatred and bigotry, frays our moral fabric and threatens our existence as a society.
“People Against Adversity” takes place in a large low circular pool of water, which represents the ocean. In the center, a “coast” of natural granite boulders, emerges out of the water, and above, a polished black granite cylinder rises as an icon of a man-made structure. On top of the cylinder, large hands, cast in bronze, touch and rise above each other to form a tall column. All is quiet in the Prelude of the First Act.
Scene One of the First Act brings on the start of the threat. Large waves are rising at the periphery of the “ocean” and progress toward the boulders at the center.
In Scene Two, jets and geysers burst up from between the boulders, and with the waves they jointly advance towards the cylinder.
Scene Three has the geysers climb the circular black wall of the cylinder, until it disappears under a veil of water. Once the cylinder is gone, the water flows rapidly across the top towards the column of hands.
Second Act, Scene One plays out the shift of power. The attack ignites action. When the water reaches the bottom of the hands, they respond immediately by sending out a powerful light forcing the water to drain into an invisible outlet under the hands.
Scene Two completes the water’s retreat: as the water disappears, the jets and geysers collapse and retract, the black cylinder returns to full view, and the waves regress to the periphery of the “ocean” where they vanish.
In Scene Three, the water that collected in the reservoir underneath the black cylinder starts to rise inside the hands. An invisible vertical conduit inside the hands leads the water to the top of the column.
Act Three, “Celebration” is the climax of the theater. The water emerges as a beautiful column basking in the light that seems to have been generated by the hands. The glorious water-column flows up for a few minutes until it retracts back into the hands.
All is quiet. But in a short while another crisis will start rising at the periphery. The Epilogue sends us back to the Prologue.
Threats are constant is the timeless message of the monument. Togetherness overcomes fear, raises hope and generates strength. It is the only means against danger. From the outside and from within.
Monument design: 2013 – 2017
Phase: design is completed. Subcontractors have submitted estimates.
Estimated budget: $5,000,000
Seeking: a site and a fund-raiser.