Archive

Tag Archives: armenia

1293010_10154749466350018_5846058372063888124_o

Here are some recent photos from Beyond Tinted exhibition which took place between the 19th-23rd of November 2014 at the Modern Art Museum, Yerevan MAMY.  These works I created after participating on the ACSL artist residency here in Yerevan.  Through the support from the residency as well as ECF Labs which helped fund my time here in Yerevan.

Beyond Tinted consisted of four series of work incorporating past and present processes and mediums.  The works developed on previous themes and new concepts researched whilst here in Yerevan.

U – DYS – HET
(Audio/Visual Digital Collage)

Watchers
(Digital Prints)

Folded Control
(Mixed Media)

Contained Spaces
(Mixed Media Sculptures)

10389653_10154749467175018_4191431715388418230_n10330343_10154749465815018_5571369004674852996_n1477499_10154749464375018_2176166318387510977_n  
1920436_10154749469395018_5353801186554581452_n
10348600_10154749472665018_558532457598479058_n 10352824_10154749469055018_1589276829693757951_n 1506014_10154749464930018_1150605417368157902_n
10394648_10154749468265018_5099221844969522900_n

10425364_10154749470800018_4864996841876695381_n

Advertisements

As I wrote in a previous post about Building the Dream.  ErAZ van was known as the Yeraz or the Dream.  The term Yeraz or Yerazi is also used to refer to a Azerbaijani sub-group also.  The Azeri people are a clan of Azerbaijani’s from Yerevan.  The word itself can refer to those people who are not from Yerevan, I guess like myself though I am not Azerbaijani.

P1200773

This interplay of words really draws me in as the idea of Yeraz which the people of Yerevan fondly refer the to ErAZ also has links to Azerbaijani clan that is predominate in Azerbaijani politics.  To this day there is an ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  My thoughts keep reflecting on this now closed border between these two nations and the two countries with ancestry that is spread across these lands.  The mobility of the ErAZ the Yerevan dream whilst the Yerazi a displaced clan that even though not in their birth land they are still dominant in their nations organisation.  These are resilient dreams.

eraz De_Agostini_ErAZ_762_B_52vS
As I start to get a handle on Yerevan ideas are starting to be considered, circulating my daily thoughts and bouncing off different aspects of the interactions I am encountering.  One which feels quite poetic is to do with the now abandoned ErAZ Automobile Factory here in Yerevan.  Yerevanskiy Avtomobilny Zavod (ErAZ) was founded in 1964 and closed in 2002.  The reason this factory feels quite poetic is due to the flagship van th ErAZ factory produced.  The  ErAZ 762 which become widely known as the Yeraz – Dream (The ErAZ 762 was based on the RAF-977 was a Soviet (now Latvian) van made by Riga Autobus Factory (RAF). The Yeraz or Dream as it translates was an incredibly successful van and even though it has been over a decade since the factory was in business you can still see these mobile dreams roaming the streets of Yerevan and no guess the countryside of Armenia.  You also see shells of these vans everywhere I guess stripped for their parts to keep these dreams alive.  Parts are surely getting harder to find as some of the dreams are held together by any means necessary.  However like most things here in Armenia things work with little or no fuss.  People do not hesitate to get on and work with what they have.  Problems here seem to be just an everyday occurrence so people move and solve these as they do each day.  I guess without having this attitude its hard to fulfil or even attempt to reach your goals. The factory at its height was producing 12,000 a year and in 1982 produced its 100,000 vehicle.  This was partly due to the factory being equipped with a production line in 1975 one of the first in the Soviet Union.  For me the idea of a production line being created to build dreams is quite appropriate. The factory now is a shell with security watching over the vast site I guess similar to a lot of vacant land here it is owned though is currently void of any development until the owner decides what they wish to do with it.  As with all things comes down to money however we all know money cannot always buy your dreams. From the ErAZ website there is some good documentation of the legacy this factory had on Yerevan and Armenia.

The ErAZ has even made it into video games such as Grand Theft Auto! 110913-1297930735-gta-sa-2011-02-17-11-12-47-50 1355320431_gta_sa2012-12-1217-24-15-90 However the ErAZ website continues to feed my thoughts, on the English translation of the site you are greeted with this message. Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 22.16.19 I guess for some dreams we will have to wait.  In future posts I will write about some of my research into the word Yeraz as this also has some interesting links and keeps bouncing off ideas that I am considering.

10734161_10154635671980018_6272476073921151849_n

What is a starting point or how do I find an IN?  A week ago I arrived in Yerevan, Armenia and within this week I have to find my bearings as well as figure where to begin.  Though I have current and ongoing themes within my work I change, my location changes and especially the landscape I experience.

10447878_10154639022390018_2504366940359114846_n

Firstly my process is simple I go get lost.. Not in the moment per se but in a place.  Public transport is easy to do this in a new country.  Just get on and do not worry about the direction just travel.  This here in Yerevan is perfect as the whole experience is totally different from other countries I have experienced.  The majority of the transport system is run by small minibuses similar to Ford Transit vans.  I am 6’4″ so even getting into these at times is a challenge.  Especially in rush hour, oh yes just like elsewhere in the world the transport system still gets crowded and these minibuses are full.  Standing room only and you would be surprised at how many people these buses can carry.  Its an impressive feet in itself.  However the whole process is calm and collected considering the horns being used by other road users and taxis.  The public just get on with it without any complaint or quibble.

10626730_10154639023870018_3404183554792679757_n

Anyways back to process.  My approach is I guess similar to the Situationists – Guy Debords’ dérive.  I use my one and one approach with the city to experience the infrastructure and witness the makeup of the city.  I am not directed as to where I head and would rather each left and right decided when it is met.  By passing through districts, suburbs and communities you can get a feel for what atmosphere and people live in a space.  This interaction with the landscape creates a dialogue that builds the more I walk and the further days spent doing so.  I start to question or be drawn into errors, repetition, oddities, familiarities and characteristics.  Its certainly not just the physical or visible that appeals, though sometime its the sense of smell or piercing sound that leaves a lasting impression.  I find my experience of space similar to how I read people and their personalities.  The anthropomorphic nature is something allows me to form initial ideas.  What are these ideas, well I have no idea until I start to delve into these dérives.  How do I know when I am onto a idea or something that is worth investigating further I do not know at first.  However I could compare it to tennis.  If you think about tennis and the shots that win matches or serves that are aces.  These are not ideas that appeal to me as they are either one of, one liners or too literal in their representation of an idea.  The ideas that I am interested in I would compare to the rallies that build and sometimes keep on going.  These rallies I would compare to the discourse that the ideas created within my own research and investigations and those that I speak to regarding the work.

Mirror Image

So by using this kind of dérive or active losing oneself I create an instability that aided by the new location or country sparks my engagement.  I move and navigate the new spaces without plans though attentive to that which is around me.  Over time my mind starts to read that which is around me in new ways and dialogues start to happen and it is these that I use to form the basis for new work/projects.

10557272_10154639021845018_9114229316461495729_n      1010128_10154639030665018_6517759871085223924_n

P1200296

Just over a week ago I returned from Chile.  I was there teaching snowboarding which is my other profession which helps fund my art activities.  It has taken me a few days to come to terms with the last few days that I spent there as they were not like the rest of the season.  When I tried to leave the country I was denied, refused exit.  This is the first time in 16 years of travel that I have had an issue with a visa and it was a huge learning experience.  Add to this that I may have learnt some Spanish in my time there but I am no way near fluent and going through this process of being denied by the check in agent to then being asked to speak to immigration followed by the police was quite a traumatic experience.

It turned out the company I had been working for had cut a few corners and had decided to not actually pay for the correct visa and had only process a token one month work visa even though they knew I was working for them for three months.  So when I got to the airport and tried to explain that I had a visa, that I had paid tax and paid a visa fee.  It took a while for an official to explain what had actually happened.  The company I had been working for thought there would be no issue as most instructors left before their tourist visa was up.

So once I had been declined I had my passport confiscated and told that I would have to go to the main Ministry building for immigration on the Monday to see what fines I would have to pay.  This is the first time in all my travels that I have been without my passport or been left in no mans land.  It was an odd sensation and I am not sure how I feel about the days I spent in Santiago waiting to find out what the Ministry would say.  It made me consider the issues and thoughts I examine within my art practice.  These liminal states, borderless zones and wastelands where nothing but everything happens.  This time where I was unable to go or do anything however I was there experiencing this quite unique process.  It was real, very real to me, however I was also in limbo and these were nothing days that to everyone else really did not matter.  This stasis I felt like I had little if no control of my fate or movement which compared to the fortunate life I have lead is quite the opposite.

I am not sure I have really come to terms or understood what or how this may affect or influence my work.  However I leave for Armenia where I will spend the next six weeks on residency.  I feel that some of the experiences I have undergone may start to filter into some of the investigations I make in the coming weeks.

60_years_formatsRGB_ECF_blacktext_60_combi

logonew

On the 1st of October I will be heading to Yerevan, Armenia for two months to partake in an art residency program operated by Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory.  This is an exciting opportunity especially after my experience in Athens previously I feel more than ready to make the most of my time there.  It is a place that I have not experienced before but sits in an important part of the world.  Its rich history and current economic state will provide many new thoughts and ways to reflective current thoughts and perceptions.

This year has seen me move quite a bit and most of that time I have been immersed in countries where I speak little of the language.  This isolation in my nomadic practice really plays on my current thoughts of what home means to me.  My projects tend to start from a personal response but then tend to be expanded to become works that others can reflect on and read in their own light.  However I feel also whilst in Armenia I need to document the daily emotional attachment I have to what I deem as home, the never studio or practice nomadic..

I am also grateful for the funding that has been provided for this time I will spend in Armenia.  The ECF Labs and their Step Beyond Bursary has made this time one which I can devoted solely to furthering my research and creating new works.

60_years_formatsRGB_ECF_blacktext_60_combi

top box

 

2014, well for the five months that I have tasted, its been a roller coaster..

I’m still making and developing ideas and its this weird oddity that the unsettled nature of life sometimes spawns the biggest output.  Though with this creative time comes the realisation also of the never studio or mobile studio.  Being dislocated from anywhere and nowhere I currently feel uncertain of where I am making work.  Time, space, country, me or another.

My time in Japan ended suddenly though for the better.  No real mental space to channel in thoughts whilst there.  Now back seeking time and refuel at the olds.  A place that is neither home or away.  However a chance to scheme and plan the next chapter and fund the new energy to get back out there.

New plans are being made with current work and travel planned for Chile from the end of June through to September.  Once the wheels start I then will be rolling again.  Heading to Armenia after Chile and finally onto USA come the end of 2014.  Through these times my studio changes endlessly.  If anything the never studio is a studio of the person.  Where I stand is where my studio is, this functions quite well unless the feet don’t feel stable.

I am not sure what the work will be or how it will unfold though right now the fascination with change and transience within my work has come to a head.  I currently exist within a place that I am neither certain or uncertain, an unknowing of whether where I am heading is right however where I have been is no longer a route that I choose to travel.  Pushing further into a zone that is both liminal and borderless.  An adventure and into the realms of the never studio.