A new data-based installation in the pyramid will turn the chronicle of the fires that shaped the city’s history into a special monument.
In the former St Andrew’s Church and the Glass Pyramid, which commemorates Verestorony, the stories of Debrecen’s firefighters of the time come to life, showing that the rebirth of the city and the human spirit is possible in any time, giving strength to the everyday lives of those living today.
The history of Debrecen was fundamentally shaped by fires, which were frequent and devastating until the middle of the 19th century. The city of Debrecen, together with the Reformed parish of the Great Church, decided to commemorate these fires, reminding its citizens that “just as the city was rebuilt from the ashes after the fires, so the soul is reborn in Christ”. Based on records and written documents from the Debrecen archives, researchers and alumni artists from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME), one of the region’s leading design universities and a major centre of innovation, have created a data-driven installation to tell the story of the city’s fires. The memorial was created using the tools of design, with a design mindset that ran through the creative process from assessing the potential audience to conceptualising the design. The resultant work can multiply the power of traditional artworks to connect us to the past and our stories through multiple layers, and has a significant identity-building power for all generations.
The installation was created on the basis of minutes and written documents found in the Debrecen archives, as well as data and maps digitised from a study by Dr. Jenő Vitéz Roncsik. The raw materials and the monolithic layers of glass sheets that make up the data object are not only a reminder of the tragedies of the past, but also a symbol of determination and rebirth. Reflecting the renewal of the city, the work also incorporates the materials of reconstruction, with wood, glass, metal and concrete complementing each other to convey this defining narrative of the city’s history, with the message that the city and its inhabitants have always been able to recover and find new strength after adversity.
It also reveals the variety and spatial extent of the fires that have accompanied the citizens of the city over the centuries. The work of art has been placed in the memorial of the Verestorony, destroyed by fire in 1802, where visitors can learn about the history of both the tower and the fires. The work was created by artist Olga Kocsi and researcher Mihály Minkó.
At the end of the summer, an installation by artist Erik Mátrai was placed on the top of the Glass Pyramid, symbolising rebirth and resurrection, like the phoenix bird on the coat of arms of the Reformed Church and the city. The two works of art together, complementing each other, symbolize the city that has been burnt down several times and the life reborn in Christ.
“Vöröstorony” – the creators of the artwork at the top of the Glass Pyramid:
Artist Erik Mátrai
Creators of the artwork on the top of the Glass Pyramid:
Data Physicalization: Olga Kocsi (MOME alumni), Mihály Minkó (MOME Innovation Centre)
Project Manager: Natália Pass (MOME Innovation Centre)
Design: Olga Kocsi
Programming: Dávid Mórász
Wood: Fanni Hegedűs (MOME alumni)
Metal: Előd Halász (MOME alumni)
Concrete: by Olga Kocsi, with the support of VPI Kft.
Glass: János Gyula Szegedi, Piroska Szilágyi Szegediné
Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu