Wunderkammer: Cabinet of Wonder

Submitted by Susan Narduli

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Client: City of Inglewood

Location: Inglewood, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $350,000

Project Team

Artist

Susan Narduli

Susan Narduli Studio

Architect

GKK Works

Other

Gwynne Pugh

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Public Art Agent

Helen Lessick

Industry Resource

Pinner Construction

Industry Resource

New Metals Inc

Overview

The artwork for the Inglewood Senior Center takes its form from the Wunderkammer or CABINET OF WONDERS – collections of extraordinary objects. It weaves together personal experience and local memory to create a poetic narrative of this community that unfolds through image, object and text.

Sited in the lobby, the perforated surface of the artwork reveals a two story digitized mapping of Inglewood. Within the “cabinet” are glass boxes with unique objects and historic photographs selected through a curation process. Inglewood writings are cut into its surface. The wash of light through the perforations provides a vibrant backdrop for the lobby.

Goals

The Inglewood Senior Center is primarily for seniors, but also an important Community Center serving Inglewood and the adjacent cities of Hawthorne and Lennox. The Center provides services and activities and a daily lunch on site to eligible seniors and meals on wheels to the homebound. The stated public art goal was to add joy, vibrancy and pride of place to the design-build project.

As I thought about the many people that would use this building, I thought about the many stories they would bring here. So the artwork grew out of this - community, its history, people and their stories. It would be welcoming, encouraging passive and active public interactivity.

Process

I was inspired by the Wunderkammer, the Renaissance practice of creating small collections of extraordinary objects. Here, the Senior Center is reframed as a cabinet of stories that the seniors bring to create a poetic weaving of memory in space.

The artwork elements were finalized by a process of curation from diverse collections and sources. We developed a select list of objects and texts to be included in the piece. This selection was presented to the Inglewood Arts Commission for review and comment. The final design reflected this review process. Close up, the artwork reveals 110 years of Inglewood achievement with historic photos of Inglewood’s Rose Parade float, local cheerleaders and internationally recognized athletes and performers. Eight internally lit glass boxes present personal memories of high school yearbooks, vintage records, recipes and love letters. Poetry and words about Inglewood by those who live there are etched into the metal surface.

The perforated metal pattern on the surface was digitally derived and then cut from a constructed map of Inglewood and the LA basin. A wash of light behind the metal is seen through the perforations, providing depth and a vibrant background to the CABINET’S surface.