, curated by Marianna Hovhannisyan in 2016 (April 6–June 5) at SALT Galata, İstanbul was a commission by SALT. The exhibition explores the archives of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Turkey. This vast repository contains materials about Protestant mission work dominantly with the Christian communities—Armenians and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire and its further development in Turkey. The curatorial concept takes the occurrence of empty metadata fields in these archives and suggests that they stand for markers of ontological and epistemological areas of study left blank by the effects of 1915 Armenian Genocide. Through this perspective, Empty Fields
unfolds a research-based narrative and reflects on the contemporary agency of the available content by uncovering the dispersed natural science collection at the mission-led Museum of Anatolia College and the forgotten legacy of its curator, Armenian-German scientist and Genocide survivor Prof. Johannes “John” Jacob Manissadjian (1862–1942). Conceptual framework of the exhibition design by Fareed Armaly.
The project is made possible through the partnership of SALT—which has been cataloging and digitizing the archive—and the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT), the archive’s caretaker and owner. The initial phase of the research developed through the invitation of the EU-funded Hrant Dink Foundation Fellowshi.