Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (ACSL) is a non-governmental organization with the goal of establishing a stable platform for critical analysis, reflections, open discussions, information exchange, and interactive communication. It aims at contributing to contemporary theories and art practices by setting up researches, discursive events, exhibitions, educational, and residency programs. ACSL promotes the development of Armenia as a zone of cultural dialogue and meeting place with its current situation as a post-Soviet country and with all of its contextual and ideological issues. ACSL operates and spreads its multilateral activities in Armenia and abroad.
‘Art Commune’ International Artist-in-Residence Program
The ‘Art Commune’ international artist-in-residence program is an initiative of ACSL, being one of the most important hubs of its activities in the field of contemporary art both locally and internationally. The goal of the ‘Art Commune’ is to create an intellectual space where the residents will get the chance to penetrate the local cultural and socio-political contexts, as well as to combine their artistic practices (research, production, etc.) with meetings, seminars, lectures, and other discursive events with local and international artists, cultural experts, critics, and curators. The program was founded in 2008 and has evolved into a cluster of multimedia artistic studios, specialized workshops, and the Platform In-LAB [Discourses and Practice]. The ‘Art Commune’ is a general member of the Res Artis worldwide network of artist residencies (visit the page).
The aim of the Platform In-LAB [Discourses and Practice] is to introduce to resident artists the corpus of significant theoretical texts on contemporary art and culture, helping them initiate and carry out new artistic production in Armenia. In addition, the platform is directed toward developing a kind of art which is oriented toward community-based projects or participatory art, dialog art, contextual art, etc. Such orientation testifies that artists are conceived not only as individual producers of discrete objects, but as producers of situations, processes, and collective work within studio and post-studio practices, particularly in collaboration with non-artistic communities. These practices overturn the traditional relationship between the art object, the artist, and the audience. Platform In-LAB [Discourses and Practice] is an open platform that welcomes international critics, curators, scholars, and artists to collaborate with current residency artists of the ‘ART Commune’ AIR Program.
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Susanna Gyulamiryan (Yerevan, Armenia) is a curator and art critic who has initiated and implemented numerous exhibitions, research and educational programs in Armenia and internationally. In 2007, she co-founded Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (ACSL), where she is currently the appointed president. In 2008, she initiated the ‘Art Commune’ International Artist-in-Residence Program in Yerevan, in the framework of which she has managed and curated more than a dozen of exhibitions and art events. Since 2006, she has been a member of AICA-Armenia. During a period of ten years, Susanna Gyulamiryan has led courses in Cultural Studies and Feminist Art (Theory and Practice) at the Department of Fine Arts, Armenian Open University (International Academy of Education). She has also carried out an MA course in Gender Studies at the Department of Cultural Studies, Yerevan State University. From 2007 to 2009, she was a contributing editor at CinemArt (a magazine on cinematography and contemporary art).
Gyulamiryan is the author of researches; academic and curatorial texts; journalistic articles about Soviet Armenian women’s art; texts on feminist art, the relationship between art and civil activism, art of social and political engagement; etc. Her texts have been published regionally and internationally. Moreover, she recently initiated, edited, and published a collection of texts entitled “Dialogues with Power” (2019). Gyulamiryan is the appointed curator of the Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 58th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia (2019).
Gyulamiyan’s recent publications include
- ‘Dialogues with Power,’ Ed. S. Gyulamiryan, In Field Research Program of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2017-2018;
- ‘Women’s Art versus Feminist Art. Categories and Contradictions in Art Practices of Armenia,’ In: ‘Manifestation of Women’s Movement in Armenia at the end of 20th Beginning of 21st Century’, Eds. G. Shahnazaryan, ZartPrint, 2015;
- ‘Women’s Art in Armenia,’ In: ‘Women’s Museum. Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History and Art’, Ed. Elke Krasny, Frauen Museum Meran and contributors, Loker Verlag, Austria, 2013;
- ‘Thoughts Provoking Art. Possibility of the Angel,’ In: ‘Plot for a Biennial’, 10th Sharjah Biennial of Contemporary Art, Ed. Susan Cotter, Rasha Salti, Sharjah Art Fondation, UAE, 2012;
- ‘All Others,’ In: ‘Human Doors,’ Ed. S.Gyulamiryan, R.Davtian, ACSL, Armenia.
Hrach Bayadyan is a cultural critic living and working in Yerevan, Armenia. He is a lecturer at the Yerevan State University, leading the ‘Communication, Media and Society’ Master’s programme at the Department of Journalism. Along with other courses, he teaches ‘Media and Cultural Studies.’ His recent articles are related to such issues as political, social, and cultural implications of information and communication technologies, post-Soviet media culture and transformations of urban spaces, as well as Russian-Soviet orientalism and cultural identity
His recent publications include
- ‘Becoming Post-Soviet in 100 Notes-100 Thoughts,’ Documenta series 053, dOCUMENTA 13, Hatje Cants, 2012;
- ‘Contradictiry 60s. Empire and Cultural Resistance’ in Red Thread, #2, 2010;
- ‘Soviet Armenian Identity and Cultural Representation’ in T. Darieva and W. Kaschuba (Eds.);
- ‘Representations on the Margins of Europe. Cultural and Historical Identities in the Baltic and South Caucasian States’, Campus Verlag, 2007;
- ‘Imagining the Past’ in Anthology of the selected texts on 25t Anniversary of Moscow Art Magazine (Moscow Art Magazine, #65/66 June, 2007);
- ‘Post-Soviet Armenia: New Social Order and the Changing Media Landscape’ in V. Azatyan (ed.) Public Sphere: Between Contestation and Reconcilliation, Ankyunacar Press, Yerevan, 2007.
Bayadyan writes regularly on socio-political issues, the educational system, language problematics, and so on (https://hetq.am/eng/authors/24/hrach-bayadyan.html).
Raffie Davtian is an artist based in Tehran, Iran. With a Master’s Degree in Sculpture from the State Academy of Fine Arts in Yerevan, he started his active career as an artist with solo and group exhibitions. Moreover, he has participated in several film festivals, as well as has been awarded with prestigious international awards such as the Photography Awards (2004 and 2005, New York, USA) and the sculpture composition award in Tehran, Iran.
Archi (Harutiun) Galentz was born in Moscow in a family with a long artistic history. In 1988, he got his A-level in Moscow and, in 1989, entered the State University of Arts and Theatre in Yerevan, Armenia. In 1992, he was invited as a guest student to Berlin University of Arts (UdK Berlin), which he graduated in 1997, obtaining a Master’s degree. He lives and works in Berlin, Moscow, and Yerevan. A recurrent theme that is central to his artistic work is the question of Armenian identity, especially in relation to political factors such as the demise of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of Armenian awareness. Starting from 1989, Archi Galentz has participated in more than 70 international exhibitions. Since the beginning of 2000s, he has been curating, teaching, and occasionally writing for art magazines. In 2004, Archi Galentz was one of the founding members of the ‘underconstruction’ group (a communication platform for Armenian artists from Diaspora, www.underconstructionhome.net). Since 2008, he has been running the ‘Interior DAsein’ exhibition space in Berlin-Wedding (www.interiorDAsein.de).
Davit Isajanyan is a graduate of Jacobs University Bremen and Universität Bremen, Germany. He is a specialist of International Relations, Global Governance, and Social Theory. His research interests include international relations and security theory, critical theory and methods in international identity studies. Davit Isajanyan is also affiliated with the American University of Armenia, where he teaches Theory and Practice of Interpreting. He has a rich record of published translations, most recent of which is his translation of “Who is Nietzsche’ by Alain Badiou. His most recent publication is a short bilingual book in Armenian and English, ‘Along the Trails of the Armenian Orphans: The Humanitarian Mission of the Near East Relief As Documented in the Photographic Collections of the Rockefeller Archive Center,’ where he outlines the story of American missionary movements and philanthropy abroad.