Pratt Manhattan Gallery, in conjunction with the Blind Dates Project and its current “Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire” exhibition, will present “What Image for the Death of the Witness?,” a free public lecture by Literary Critic, Philosopher, and Cultural Studies Professor Marc Nichanian that will explore the relationship between the reality and documentation of the death of a witness. The lecture will take place at 6:30 PM on Thursday, February 3 inside the gallery at 144 West 14th Street, Second Floor. 

Nichanian will probe into the notion of visually documenting the death of the witness, the exploration of which is rooted in debates around the legitimacy and limitations of representation as it relates to mass murder, concentration camps, and genocidal events. Nichanian will explore such questions as: Does the event of murdering the witness have a picture? If yes, is the picture the same as the event? Could the erasure of the witness and the erasure of the picture be the same? Is humanity then present only when there is an image of the witness?  

The lecture will be presented as part of “Blind Dates,” an exhibition that comprises 13 new projects based on curatorial match-making that centers around the people, places, and cultures that once constituted the vast geography of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). “Blind Dates” is guest-curated by Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian and will run through February 12, 2011. The exhibition and lecture are free and open to the public. Guided tours of the exhibition with Melkonian will be offered by appointment only on February 5, 8, and 9 at 3 p.m. To reserve a spot on the tour, please call 212-647-7778 or email with 24 hours advance notice.

Exhibiting artists, many of whom have ties to countries including Armenia, Bosnia, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey, utilized the break-up of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent formation of nation states throughout the region to explore the effects of various forms of ruptures, gaps, erasures, and reconstructions. An underlying theme of the exhibition is formed by diasporas, or transnational cultural cartographies that offer non-conventional temporal and spatial configurations, through the prism of contemporary lived experiences.

Nichanian is currently visiting professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at Sabanci University, Istanbul, and serves as editor and publisher of an Armenian philosophical review, GAM. A professor of Armenian Studies at Columbia University from 1996 to 2007, Nichanian is author of Historiographic Perversion (translated from French into English by Gil Anidjar for Columbia University Press, 2009), Entre l’Art et le Témoignage: Littérature Arméniennes au XXe Siècle Tome III, Le roman de la Catastrophe (Metispresses, 2008), and Writers of Disaster: Armenian Literature in the Twentieth Century (Taderon Pr, 2002).

For more information on “Blind Dates” and upcoming Pratt Manhattan Gallery exhibitions, please call 212-647-7778, email, or visit Add Pratt Manhattan Gallery on Facebook by searching “Pratt Manhattan Gallery” and follow Pratt Exhibitions on Twitter at “PrattGallery.”

Supporters of the Blind Dates Project include Law Office of Souren A. Israelyan; Millyard Imaging and Matt McEnteggart/White Box Builders; Raffi Momjian P.C.; and Richard Tenguerian Architectural Models. Individual patrons include Ken Darian; Mimi Brown Ercil; Tunç Iyriboz; Sylvia Minassian; Roswitha and Fred Loeffler; Shant Mardirossian; Kaan Nazli; Seda Sahakian; Ani Totah; and others who wish to remain anonymous. Additional project supporters include AICA-Armenia; ALWAN for the Arts; Arts in the One World; Blind Dates Friends & Global Advisory Council; Dorothy and Joseph Reilly Fund; Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop; Mirak Family Foundation; Mondriaan Foundation; and UTA Turkish Studies.

Blind Dates Project fiscal sponsors include the Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention (2006-2008) and New York Foundation for the Arts (2009-present).

“Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire”
November 19, 2010-February 12, 2011
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.