August 10, 2010

Responses to Boyajian's work

[Dispatches from Armenia]: Bound Opposition

By Erin Henk
August 6, 2010

The other night I attended Armenian-American artist Melissa Boyajian’s presentation at The Club restaurant on Tumanyan Poghots. My co-worker Hasmik Manukyan interpreted the event, which showcased some of Melissa’s photography and short films. The first film was “Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon,” which depicted the close-up shot of a mouth. As the tongue was bound again and again with thin wire and yarn, the mouth attempts to speak. It was impossible to distinguish the words, of course, and as I watched I found myself becoming more and more fixated on the discomfort and pain I sensed from the screen as the wire grew tighter and tighter, eventually cutting off blood flow. This lasted what seemed like several minutes. I winced repeatedly, felt more and more uncomfortable as the film went on, and was even slightly grossed out at times. I kept anticipating the point when it would become too much to bear (as I am quite squeamish) and I would have to shift my gaze. But much to my surprise, I didn’t.

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