Armen is an installation and a limited-edition lathe LP release made using sound and video materials produced by the Armenian diaspora musicians. Due to the Armenian Genocide, Armenia has one of the largest diaspora in the world, spread across various continents. I chose to work with a selection of tapes and vinyls from the 1970s and 80s made by Armenian diaspora producers, same generation as my father, an Armenian émigré himself. This material, which I collected throughout several years, shares a certain sense of nostalgia and often uses and reshapes elements of traditional Armenian music.
I was fascinated by both the music and its cultural context as well as the various sonic artefacts that these rare recordings retain. In Armen theses are recomposed into a new, fictional narrative working its way through different sonic landscapes. The echoes of the original material are exposed to signals, noises and glitchy textures, as well as replicating the musical structures that create their southern sound. Composed in such a way, Armen connects several selected locations of Armenian diaspora music, as well as puts to question the idea of location itself.
Armen was commissioned and first shown at the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius and broadcast by Radio Papesse Süden Radio and documenta14 SAVVY FUNK radio program. Further exhibitions included Theater Rast in Amsterdam and various public presentations in Armenia. The limited-edition vinyl release also contains newly commissioned text by writer and curator Monika Kalinauskaitė.
Armen was made with support by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts), Performing Arts Fund NL, Armenian Art Foundation and Lithuanian Council for Culture.