Landscape of Memory
The highly anticipated and reimagined Downtown Central Library is pleased to announce the reopening of its doors with ReflectSpace: a new exhibition space designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides and civil rights violations. Immersive in conception, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, employing art, technology and interactive media to reflect on the past and present of Glendale’s communal fabric and interrogate current-day global human rights issues.
ReflectSpace at the Downtown Central Library is a new exhibition space designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides and civil rights violations. Immersive in conception, ReflectSpace is a hybrid space that is both experiential and informative, employing art, technology and interactive media to engage viewers on an emotional and personal level. ReflectSpace strives to reflect the past and present of Glendale’s communal fabric and interrogate current-day global human rights issues.
The approach is intimate. Emphasis is placed on the witness narrative: who saw, wrote, spoke or has been affected by genocide or human rights calamities. The narratives will unfold through multiple technologies--projection, interactive media and immersive sound design--and multiple discipline of thought and arts. ReflectSpace will also present installation art and engage with the archives, books and texts in the library in which it exists.
ReflectSpace is an inclusive exhibition space. First, it will explore the Armenian Genocide, presenting personal as well as reflective narratives from survivors and artwork from descendants. Also, in the coming months, it will present the fate of the Rwandan Tutsis and, later, the Holocaust, then subsequent genocides. With a focus on Glendale as well as an international perspective, ReflectSpace will also delve into contemporary issues like immigration, violence in society, Korean comfort women, interned Japanese, as well as the disappearance of Native Californians and the roots and routes of slavery in the US. And this is just the beginning.
ReflectSpace will be an intimate experiential space for reflection and exploration. At times it will be immersive, at other times disorienting and yet at other times overwhelming. But it will always engage.
witness (in)humanity @ ReflectSpace | iwitness @ Central Park
Curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan
Landscape of Memory
The inaugural exhibit, called Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide, unfolds in two distinct but interconnected parts and reflects on the Armenian Genocide through the cross-disciplinary work of witnesses, survivors, and artists, across four generations.
In the newly constructed ReflectSpace, witness (in) humanity examines the relationship of official history to survivor testimony and its generational aftermath. Leslie A. Davis, the US Consul in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, risked his life in saving Armenians and taking photographs of the Genocide. Davis’ critical work as a photographer and documentarian are contextualized and presented as part of witness (in) humanity. He is connected to contemporary photographers’ portrait and oral history of Hayastan Maghakhian-Terzian, one of the young girls Consul Davis saved.
Coming nearly a century after Davis, New York-based artist Aram Jibilian’s “Gorky and the Glass House” explores Arshile Gorky, the renowned Armenian-American painter, as an artist-survivor through a series of conceptual photographs made at Gorky’s final residence. Jibilian channels the artist’s ghost to address the ambiguous space the survivor occupies: between life/death and past/present.
Just outside ReflectSpace, within a few yards of the library’s south entrance at Glendale Central Park, will be the second part of Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide, the highly popular iwitness public art installation.
The iwitness installation is a large-scale artistic disruption of public space and consists of an interconnected network of towering asymmetrical photographic sculptures wrapped with massive portraits of eyewitness survivors of the Genocide. The sculptures have no right angles and their irregular angular shapes speak to an unbalanced world, continually at risk of war, ethnic cleansing and genocide. They range in height from eight to twelve feet.
Conceived and constructed by artists Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian and architect Vahagn Thomasian, iwitness will be the first ever large-scale public art installation in Glendale. Design concept is by Narineh Mirzaeian.
“This remarkable installation, coupled with the ReflectSpace exhibition, honors the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and tells the personal stories of survivors--first-hand eyewitnesses to one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century,” said Cindy Cleary, Director of Glendale’s Arts and Culture.
“iwitness is a temporary monument to the men and women who rebuilt their disrupted lives and communities in the aftermath of genocide,” said artist Levon Parian. “The proximity and clustering of the sculptures alludes to, and reflects the new communities they created after being dispersed across the globe.”
Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide is an immersion in an internal conversation taking shape at the very onset of the Genocide and stretching over four generations. The diplomat/documentarian, eyewitness survivors and contemporary artists are all intricately linked in a network of imagery, image-making and testimony. Landscape of Memory is curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.
- iwitness public art installation at Glendale Central Park will run from April 27 through June 14.