Hrayr Anmahouni Eulmessekian with Sound Scholar Anahid Kassabian
Solemnity, 2010 Pratt Manhattan Gallery
Wall sound sculpture with video projection, 1 hour, 9 minutes
Neery Mekonian & Dafne Ayyas Curators
Poets/Writers: Nancy Agabian, Najwan Darwish, Lola Koundakjian, Amir Parsa, Alan Semerdjian, Maral K. Svendsen and Alene Terzian.
Solemnity seeks to mourn what is impossible to mourn. It is an audiovisual critique of elaborate recreations of “trauma” and “atrocity” in documentary works that embellish a sense of authenticity, or foster fantasies of witnessing, suffering and understanding. It is also an examination of alternative means of exploring catastrophes of long ago. The work seeks to highlight the trauma of re-presentation itself when the past is in oblique ruins. The first component in this two-part installation is an extremely slow-moving video projection of the grainy remains of individuals in a documentary photograph titled “March of the the Armenians.” The second component involves an array of mini-speakers facing a wall in a grid and covering a large surface. The muffled sound, in asynchronous signals, is directed into the wall, and the projected image veils all the speakers, from which one hears Armenian, Iranian, Palestinian and Turkish poets/writers.