Forgotten Language

"Forgotten Language"; Copper, bronze screen, text; 40'W x 30'L x 22'H; ©1995 Seyed Alavi

This piece, located in the lobby of the Palo Alto City Hall, California, was developed as a response to the architectural characteristics of the lobby as well as other qualities and social references of the Civic Center.

The form, colors and materials were carefully selected and composed to harmonize, both visually and conceptually, with the space in order to suggest a variety of interconnected meanings within the larger context of civic and community life.

The overall structure of this piece has a form similar to a pitched roof which in effect refers to the concept of a "house"; a metaphorical structure for supporting the goals and ideals of a community; a conceptual construct of a house within a larger house.

As part of the original requirements this piece had to hang from the ceiling, and I wanted it to be something "to look up to", to be inspired by. Forgotten Language" seeks to call our attention to the fading value of words, especially those that manifest our highest aspirations of civic and community life.

Since this piece is highly responsive to changes in light, the viewer must move around the lobby in order to read the entire text . This process reflects the quality of discovery and the search for knowledge and acts as a metaphor for the process that we, as members of a community, must undertake in order to actualize these words/ thoughts/ high ideals into our daily life.

The quotations (below) utilized in the piece, were selected in collaboration with members of the community. Seyed Alavi

* How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -- Anne Frank

* Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere... Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

* I learn to make my mind as large as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes. -- Maxine Hong Kingston

* A nation is never finished... It has to be recreated in each generation by believing, caring men and women. -- John W. Gardner

* Rememberance

* Garden of Secrets

* Where is Fairfield?

* Selected Words

* Here

* Forgotten Language

* Words by Roads

* There Is No Place Like Here


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