Another City or the Other in the City

  • Agathe Lepoutre (France) and Antoine Janot (France)
    multmedia installation (video, c-print)

    In collaboration with:
    Marcus Beuter (Germany)
    sound installation ‘Little hums of ‘Bangladesh”
    Vardan Harutyunyan (Armenia)
    field recording, soundscape, compositions

    Closing day: Electroacustic performance by Vardan Harutyunyan (Armenia)

    Curator: Susanna Gyulamiryan

    Modern Art Museum, Yerevan
    April 2-21, 2012

This project has started and developed in the frame of ‘Art Commune’ International Artist-in-Residence Program (ACSL). The conceptual vector of the project is directed towards the city in an attempt to follow the symbols and signs and to ‘read’ the social, political and cultural transformations of urban spaces through artistic gestures. The world processes of Modernization are mainly connected to urban spaces. Today’s civilization can be referred to as urban: intellectual, financial, and informational flows and processes are formed in the city. The city, as a completely new vital space and arena of new social relations, has a more than 100 year history of philosophical, sociological, cultural and other studies.

The figurative and narrative pivot of the project is the ‘(Dis)position of (Dis)topia’ video installation made by French artists Agathe Lepoutre and Antoine Janot (sound compositions by Vardan Harutyunyan).  ‘Bodybuilding’ large scale c-prints,  ‘Collective Amnesia’ video work as well. The project also includes the result of the workshop  implemented in collaboration with Vahe Budumyan (Armenia) and students of the ‘Bridge of hope’ Association, Vardan Harutyunyan’s  performance and compositions, and Marcus Beuter’s sound installation.

The sociological experience related to urban spaces suggests the following basic interrelated concepts inherent to metropolises: social distance, difference, strangeness and style. The visual tales, enclosed in the project, polarize the historical attempts to describe the utopian urban organization: utopian cities have not existed; however, these were dream cities, full of visions and illusions. Contrariwise, through symbolic gestures, the artists represent the ‘real’ urban existence, as a dystopia (as a bad place or bad way of living). The physical existence in the spatial context is close by, whilst social relations are dissolved and people are alienated. These ‘stranger’ or ‘others’ maintain interrelations by implementing domination or dispossession matrices. In other words, the life is at a distance, and the existence is within strangers. The names of the cities, represented in the above mentioned ‘(Dis)topia of (Dis)position’ video installation, bear a resemblance to urban utopian references: ‘The Heavenly City’, ‘The Geometrical City’, etc. However, these are either bare territories with ‘bare life’, either spaces full of ghost/phantom-people.

The project also brings to attention the commercializing and processes of reconstruction/ deconstruction which started in the late 1990s in Yerevan, particularly in the center of the city. Due to these processes many sites and constructions of cultural and historical importance are close to disappearance or have already been destroyed. The pre modern and pre Soviet parts of the city have suffered the same faith.However, the physical dimension of the city is not only the buildings and constructions with their symbolical and ideological references. The city’s live stream is its habitants whose recent activism and bold protests joined in solidarity: the inhabitants of Yerevan bravely united in opposition to the oligarch’s insatiable coupled with deficiency practices sponsored by governmental commercial interest to occupy and consume the city center under the fake slogan of its ‘re-modernization’ and the established governmental mandate of ‘State Needs’ as its principal guide for urban ‘development’.

Agathe Lepoutre (Paris, France) is a multimedia artist. She has done one-year studies at the Korean National University of Arts, Seoul, 2009 and graduated from the National Superior school of Beaux Arts in Paris (ENSBA), 2011. She did work as a drawing teacher for the Association ‘La cité des mots’ in 2011. One of her most significant works is the video series ‘Women’, which has been recently screened at The Club (Yerevan, Armenia) on February 2012.

Antoine Janot (Paris, France) is a young multimedia artist whose works have been focusing on the experimental documentary, photographs and video art. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Blomet (Paris) with further courses at the International Film School of Paris (EICAR). He is also a graduate student of MA Course on Cinema and Aesthetic at the University of Sorbonne (Paris 1).

Marcus Beuter (Wuppertal, Germany) is currently working on his own archive of field recordings. Since 2001, he has been specifically interested in soundart. In 2003, he was the co-founder of the record label ‘fragmentrecordings’ followed by cd releases. Marcus Beuter is an auto-didactive sound artist, composer of electro-acoustic music and improviser. Since 2005, he has been producing sound installations, often in cooperation with sculptors and visual artists. He has also made live-performances of improvised electronic music based on his field recordings. He is a member of Cooperativa Neue Musik, DEGEM, Trio TATUNTAT, Trio Beuter, Höger, Schwieger, and Ensemble Theatrum Somnium Medusae.

Vardan Harutyunyan (Yerevan, Armenia) is a composer and pianist. He has graduated from the Musical School (piano class) after Sayat-Nova and Yerevan Sate Conservatory after Komitas (composition class by Vardan Achemyan). Vardan Harutyunyan has been working in the field of academic, electronic, and electro-acoustic music.

This project is realized in the frame of the ‘Art Commune’ International AIR Program (ACSL) with support of the Yerevan Modern Art Museum, French Embassy in Armenia, Bridge of Hope NGO, ARD Globe, and HERTZ.

The project is funded by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).