BOOM! Exhibit Opening Success

As covered in previous blog posts, the Ghosts of Seattle Past team is collaborating with the Center for Architecture and Design on their new BOOM: Changing Seattle exhibit. We are so proud to announce that our opening reception last night went off with a bang (no pun intended). When doors opened at 5 p.m., Seattle artists, researchers, and residents alike filtered in to get a first look at the lost places in our rapidly growing city. Our team, along with C. Davida Ingram, Seattle in Progress, No Touching Ground, and Rodrigo Valenzuela, transformed the center into a panorama of artistic collections that not only lament locations lost to development, but also voice passion for preserving places of heritage that remain.

Quotes, photos, and Eroyn Franklin's comic "The Here" decorated the walls at the exhibit opening.
Eroyn Franklin’s comic “The Here” was printed across an entire wall, and several other walls feature quotes from our contributors, as well as photography and documentation of changing neighborhoods. Photo credit: Joe Freeman, joefreemanjunior.com

The BOOM exhibit focuses on four Seattle neighborhoods that are targets for the most rapid development: Ballard, Central District, South Lake Union, and SODO. Themes of transformation, memory, and speculated futures for our city are splashed up on the Center’s walls in quotes, artwork, and multimedia installations. Excerpts from Dave Holden and Ken Workman’s interviews accompany the poignant, black-and-white photos of Port of Seattle and Salmon Bay, along with snippets from Kate Lebo and Samantha Claire Updegrave’s essays. Old photos and hand-drawn maps detail how our once smaller community expanded to this international landmark, and much that was gained and lost along the way. Eroyn Franklin’s comic “The Here” is splayed across an entire wall, depicting colliding conversations about change. New, powerful videos by Paul Komada and Inye Wokoma intimately depict individual Seattleites struggling to adapt, while Ghosts’s very own Josh Powell provides a larger perspective on the changes with his pen-and-ink maps. Invisible Seattle, a bygone project that collected Seattleites’ stories and input to write a collaborative “novel of Seattle,” showcased questionnaires and old drafts.

Invisible Seattle artifacts were plastered across the wall at the opening.
Invisible Seattle artifacts. Photo credit: Joe Freeman, joefreemanjunior.com

We’re honored to exhibit alongside Invisible Seattle’s lineage of raising residents’ voices. In fact, a copy of our beta anthology is stretched out on its twine binding across a table by the center’s front window so that several visitors at a time can visit the lost places that haunt residents. And in addition to showcasing stories and archives, we’re using the BOOM exhibit to give you, readers and residents, another way to add your memories to a shared city map. Our laptops, set up under Josh’s hand-drawn maps, are opened to our site’s map page so that when you stop by and get inspired, you can pin your own favorite lost places. Have you already pinned? Do you want a more tactile way to memorialize your favorite space? BOOM encourages everyone to bring an item, image, or story that reminds them of Seattle; these tokens will be added to the exhibit’s Community Altar for Seattle Memories.

Laptops were open to online maps for people to pin places at the opening.
Josh Powell’s hand-rendered cartography, with the laptops open to the pinnable online map. Photo credit: Joe Freeman, joefreemanjunior.com

After such an enthusiastic opening, we’re eager for more artists and residents to join us and travel back in time to celebrate and remember the places lost in Seattle. The Center for Architecture and Design is open to the public and the exhibit will be up until August 27th—make plans with friends and family to visit this collaboration, maybe two or three times, and keep your eyes peeled for more news on our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter. Ghosts of Seattle Past curator Jaimee Garbacik has something exciting in the works with our civic leaders, with more info coming soon…

Update as of July 15: The city is buzzing about the exhibit! Check out what Seattle Weekly and The Urbanist had to say about our efforts.

(Guest blogger: Monalice Choi)

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