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 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 (b.Yerevan, Armenia) is a curator and art critic who has initiated and implemented numerous exhibitions and research and educational programs in Armenia and internationally. In 2007, she co-founded ACSL, where she is currently the appointed president. In 2008, she initiated the ‘Art Commune’ International Artist-in-Residence Program. Since 2006, Susanna Gyulamiryan has been a member of AICA-Armenia (International Association of Art Critics). During a period of ten years, Susanna Gyulamiryan led courses in Cultural Studies and Feminist Art at the Department of Fine Arts, Armenian Open University (International Academy of Education) and carried out an MA course in Gender Studies at the Department of Cultural Studies, Yerevan State University. Her recent publications include ‘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’ , Ed. G. Shahnazaryan, ZartPrint, 2015; ‘Women’s Art in Armenia. Categories and Contradictions’, In: ‘Women’s Museum. Curatorial Politics in Feminism, Education, History and Art’, Ed. Elke Krasny, Frauen Museum Meran and contributors, Loker Verlag, Austria, 2013; ‘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.
Recent curatorial projects include: ‘Come Close. Art from Different Angles’, international exhibition of artists from Armenia, France, Iran, and Switzerland, co-curator: Alina Mnatsakanian (sz), Le Manoir de la Ville de Martigny, Switzerland; ‘Taking Position. Identity Questioning’, international exchange, research, and exhibition, co-curator: Aria Spinelli (it), FARE-CCA, Frigoriferi Milanesi, ACSL, Milan, Turin, Florence, Yerevan, Vanadzor, 2013; ‘Dependency Culture as a State of Mind’, international exhibition (a visual statement to the Berlin Biennale (BB7) open call), Interior DAsein (Kolonie Wedding), Berlin, Germany, 2012; ‘Art and Power’, Atlantis 11 within HEICO (Heritage, Identities and Communication in European Contemporary Art Practices), co-curated with a network of international curators, 54th Biennale in Venice, Italy, 2011; ‘Gender Trouble’, Yerevan, Armenia, 2008-2011; ‘Possibility of the Angel’, 10th Biennale of Contemporary Art, Sharjah, UAE, 2011; ‘Subjects-Objects of the History and Their Stories’, ‘PROEKT FABRIKA’ Center for Creative Industries, Moscow, Russia, 2010; ‘Interdiagnosis’, International Forum of Contemporary Art, Yerevan, Armenia, 2009.
Hrach Bayadyan is a professor at Yerevan State University/Department of Journalism and Cultural Studies. He is a leading cultural critic in Armenia. He was the First Deputy Director at the Department of Information and Publications Republic of Armenia and a member of National Commission on Television and Radio. He has written on post-Soviet media, culture, and urban spaces, on social and cultural implications of information and communication technologies.
His recent publications include: 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, 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.
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.