“Empty Fields” is the first exhibition to explore the archive of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and the Protestant mission work in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Working with the archives, the exhibition begins by considering the period when the Empire collapsed and the Republic was formed, whereby certain archival absences bear the traces of the Great Catastrophe of 1915.
Curated by Marianna Hovhannisyan, the exhibition takes the archive’s empty fields as its structuring guidelines and suggests that they stand for markers of ontological and epistemological areas of study left blank. Supplemented by video interviews, Empty Fields selects rare archival materials, including photographs, maps and correspondences, and through this perspective, a reference to a different archive emerges: the catalog of a more than a century-old natural science collection of the Museum of Anatolia College, Merzifon, Turkey. Unique for its time, the museum collection amassed more than 7,000 artifacts under the curatorship of Prof. Johannes Jacob Manissadjian, an Armenian-German scientist, botanist, and plant collector. Empty Fieldstraces the routes of dispersal of a number of the original showcases and their contents, and highlights the layered frameworks of museological, geo-politicized space in an attempt to face the irretrievability of a particular period in history.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a public program and an e-publication. A set of lectures and articles aim to bring contemporary perspectives on the concepts of collection-in-exile, the agencies of the archives and museological histories in post-catastrophic events.
tue, wed, thu, fri, sat 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm; sun 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
SALT Galata, Bankalar Caddesi 11