Light–guard–house: Installation by Farrah Karapetian
The 20-square foot aluminum guardhouse that sat outside the ADN headquarters in East Berlin from 1971–92 is both an artifact of an atmosphere of mistrust and representative of past and current political protectionism. Artist Farrah Karapetian will turn this structure into a lighthouse, changing a gesture of suspicion into a gesture of welcome. The windows of the guardhouse will be tinted in a rainbow gradient encompassing all of the colors potentially included in national flags. Over the course of the Wende’s concurrent exhibition, The Medium is the Message: Flags and Banners, Karapetian will engage with the public about experiences they have had as migrants. As the stories accumulate and become available on the museum’s website, the light inside the lighthouse will pause at the various colors associated with the flags of the respective national borders crossed. Rather than the finality of immigration, the artist’s focus is the prevalence of migration, asking visitors: What experiences of welcome or mistrust have occurred as you have moved internationally? How have they colored your life in their wake?
Farrah Karapetian (b. 1978) is an artist and public thinker based in California, whose subject is individual agency and faith in the face of totalizing forces. Her work incorporates sculptural and performative means of achieving imagery that refigure light-based mediums around bodily experience. A recent video she produced for the Wende’s Transformations: Living Room -> Flea Market -> Museum -> Art also incorporated the rainbow, as she sorted through students’ responses to questions about the objects of their faith. Her work is held in multiple public collections and she has received fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the California Community Foundation, and the Center for Cultural Innovation. Her writing about visual and civic experience has been recognized by multiple publications and by the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. She holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from UCLA and has exhibited in institutional and commercial galleries since 2000. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of San Diego.
Lightguardhouse is generously supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.