For this last episode of the first series, I would like to summarize the Archive -Practice proposition by way of some observations, which will also suggest the direction for the next phase of development. The first section of the proposition was developed through constructing dialogs and relations made by my interviews with people whose work represent different practices within the Armenian contemporary art field. I created these for the online format of the Session blog, considering that the archive-practice interrelation is first being modeled inside the interviews. This was a way to discover the approach and introducing positions towards educational process and work as site of recognition and a contact zone to distribute forms, relations, memories, experiences and reference to the past in order to discover certain creative interlinks with the present actual situations and problematics.

In my interview wiht Nazareth Karoyan, there are four observations that reveal the contemporary educational issues which appear in his work:

“the idea to develop the profession of curating was conditioned by understanding the necessity to overcome the problems of unequal inter-relations established between a post-Soviet art environment and western art markets in the 1990’s.”

“a tool of resistance made to face the total collapse and total privatization and commercialization as well.”

“coming out from the basic problems in the field of transfer […] which happens by selection […] connected with the same memory and its two functions of “forget” and “remember”. This selection is connected as well with profits and values, which includes the transfer of knowledge, that becomes important as a subjective act from a concrete individual, family, institution, school and so on.”

“the organization of the education and its realization today requires people involved in a work-colleague relation, to set up a creative collaboration which at the end becomes the best way for the exchange of knowledge, skills and experience between generations. The advisory method suggests consultation as an educational format, and can appear as creative way to actualize virtual data through the research”.

In my interview with Ruben Arevshatyan, the observations relate to circulation and function:

“by the end of 1990s when it became clear that the artistic wave which started to rise since the middle of 1980s started to go down, as the conflict between the students and the professors at the academy also decreased, what is the most important is that neither the artists, critics or curators from the contemporary art scene were involved in the academic educational structures. The realization of the fact that it would be difficult to integrate in the traditional educational structures and within those frames to reconsider older types of educational methodologies and programs led to the formation of new independent art schools.”

“turning the process of education into a certain process of knowledge production, where the students are being taught the capability to overwrite and reread, to construct and deconstruct that knowledge in order not to fall into the orthodoxy and academism as well as to avoid the speculative trap of culturalization and aestheticization.”

“the role of the professor sometimes balances in between the positions of moderator, advisor or sometimes even a provocateur. But quite often those positions either spontaneously or deliberately are being shared among different students in the group.”

In the interview with Samvel Bagdsarayan and Armine Hovhannisyan the archive becomes a method and space to collaborate, a precise act of expansion of the experience. As Samvel mentioned:

“memory became material when I started to share it with my students. When I realized that most of these didactic materials are now witnesses of my past education and could be renewed with the help of young people, gradually I reconsidered their new conceptual and aesthetical problems. In relation to these kinds of projects […] usually bring the students to the understanding of the recent past with their creativity.”

The last point was actually accomplished by the intervention of Armine Hovhannisyan, suggesting a new section in Samvel’s ongoing project Soviet AgitArt. Restoration .

In the interview of Susanna Gyulamiryan, the main direction of her interests in feminist practice on all levels of the arts, informed and formed the consideration of what kinds of archival material, as she introduced practices and activities underlining their impact in the organization of the educational work, focused on women issues, which became one of the biggest parts of the contemporary art discourses.

“to understand this indifference towards the feminist discourses and gender issues occurs as well in art, maybe it is necessary for a short introduction reflecting back to the tendencies and approaches still formulated during the Soviet years.”

“it was typical for Soviet Armenian women to be like a man, to create as a man and to appropriate all visual codes suggested by the men who found their place in the art history.”

“women in general still speak about their rights referencing the model of equality with men. In this sense, as the stalwarts of difference theory state that the whole previous history and culture is built in accordance to the masculine models, selection, taste and preferences, the world is masculinized and a woman should thus contradict the males’ standards and archetypes by a female position, as in “feminine” or “womanly”.”

“there are no resources, neither financial nor human, to support the direction to realize and analyze studies, to work with the archives, to refine large-scale educational projects, especially for the feminist and gender-oriented studies.”

“the contemporary Armenian art context (institutions, foundations and so on) is largely in the hands of men and with masculine privilege. […]The boards of the all the local art institutions are men because of the simple reason that in these kinds of initiatives the woman professionals remain passive.”

Returning to the question of my archive and practice combination of this past six-weeks, I see the position I came to L’Ecole du Magasin with clearly reflected back within this first phase of work. I was cataloging online my interviews, whose discussions lead back to one context but were also intended to be situated in terms of the educational context here in the L’Ecole. The point for me remains, that while having all these observations and articulations in the interviews (post-Soviet condition, local history, total privatization, knowledge production in art practices, masculine privilege in the art institutions and so on) which can be observed in other social-political and cultural situations, and in another contemporary artistic and curatorial practices (of course with local specificities and histories) these all function for me only when the role and influence of educational work is challenged as a production, in terms of circulation and reception, in order to cross disciplines and barriers.


No Comments on “Conclusion”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

No one has commented on this entry yet.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>