October 20, 2009

"What Is To Take Place": The Contemporary Art Affair by WOW 'Took Place'

[reported from tert.am]

"What is to take place" was a contemporary art affair organized by the Women-Oriented Women's Collective which took place on Sunday, October 18 at Zarubyan 34 in Yerevan.

The event included members of the collective as well as invited artists and featured video and performance works, as well as photo series, a collection of drawings, book art, and stencil art. The event took place in the outside garden where a number of tables and chairs had been arranged in small groupings. One could imagine that instead of a contemporary art event, they were meeting friends at a local cafe. The sun was shining (the weather unusually warm for an early October evening), and the atmosphere was relaxed.

The organizers had prepared large quantities of popcorn and coffee, and with a little bit of salt (for the popcorn) and a little bit of sugar (for the coffee), the event began. Attendees were invited to visit various "stations" where a number of laptops had been set up to display the artists' works. There was a video by Lusine Talalyan loosely based on a survey on homosexuality called "Don't Be Silent," a video by Lusine Vayachyan reading her emotionally moving text, a music video edited by Arpi Adamyan which featured music by Tsomak (who had created a song based on Violet Grigoryan's poem "Tslik," roughly translated to "Cunt" in English).

"What is to take place" also featured Arpi Adamyan's graphic art, outlines of friends and acquaintances in various everyday gatherings; a photo series by Adrineh Der-Boghossian, simply titled "Her, sleeping"; and stencil art work and stickers by Tsomak ("Smash patriarchy") . Invited artists included Eka Ketsbaia, an artist from Georgia who presented her book art: a sequence of about 300 small format ink on paper drawings; and Arax Nerkararyan distributed slips of paper with her text on it.

Lucine Talalyan also presented an album of her photo series "Arzni Retreat." Prior to the event, Angela Harutyunyan curated the collective's work in cyberspace and placed it on the blog; one of the laptops at the event had the page up so attendees could read Angela's curated work.

After attendees had an opportunity to view the work, the performance began. Lara Aharonian, Lusine Chergeshtyan, Adrineh Der-Boghossian, Lusine Talalyan and Arpi Adamyan read a piece of work that was comprised of various conversations they have had on various themes (the full text, in Armenian, can be viewed on the Queering Yerevan blog). Interspersed with the text were lines from Lara Aharonian's poem Hoqnel em ("I am tired") and excerpts from Zarubyani Kanayk ("The Women of Zarubyan"), a piece by WOW collective member Shushan Avagyan, who was not in attendance. (Upon Shushan's request, her work was read by Gago).

The authors of the various works were not identified and no descriptions of the works were presented. This was intentional. Furthermore, the group did not receive any financial support in organizing the event; they did, however, receive support from the Women's Resource Center in Armenia by way of providing the space for the event.

Queering Yerevan is a collaborative project of Armenian queer artists, writers and curators to be realized within the framework of the WOW (Women-Oriented Women) collective.

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