Below is a short film produced by our team, which explains our personal response to this controversy.
Park51, the project chosen by our group, is located in a close proximity to Ground Zero, the site where the World Trade Center used to stand before it was completely destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. After 10 years and more likely in the distant future, the perception of what is happening around, will always be evaluated through the perspective of what has happened to Twin-Towers, even though they are not there anymore. That is why Ground Zero is an example of presence of absence - the Towers are not there, but continue living in people's minds.
While only being a proposed project, Park51 (also known as Cordoba House or Ground Zero mosque), raised a huge resonance in international society. The project was in its early stages and the construction didn't even start at that time, but it was able to provoke hot disputes around the world. In people's minds the project which was actually absent, became real. In other words, it caused presence while not being there, which we also call the Presence of Absence.
"Park51: the presence of absence" is a website exploring a completed architectural controversy surrounding a project based in Lower Manhattan, New York. Here a group of students from Manchester School of Architecture, under the supervision of Albena Yaneva, is trying to investigate and analyse the disputes spurred by this controversial (both politically and ethically) development both in the United States and beyond their borders.
In this website our group presents information on the most important events that had affected the controversy, as well as lists the main actors, involved in it and show their interconnections. Moreover, we demonstrate the arguments in favor and against Park51 and unveil some
statistical figures on this project.