արդ եւս | in view Awardees Announced

The Armenian Communities Department is happy to announce the nine winners of the only Western Armenian Culture Grant, with a foreword by Marie-Aude Baronian: Re-Imagining the Armenian Language
Illustration by Armine Shahbazyan

Through these projects, the Armenian language “proves to be a vibrant, sophisticated, and infinite source of inspiration… At once vigorous and playful, effective and affective, the Armenian language becomes the cement of Armenian culture beyond its linguistic confinement. It also enables us to re-discover alternative ways of revealing hidden narratives, singularities, and gestures that are attached to it”.

արդ եւս |in view was launched in fall 2021 as the first and only Western Armenian culture grant in face of the great need to bring the language to the forefront of contemporaneity and innovation, in order to stimulate and enhance cultural production that would sustain its speakers for years to come.

The Armenian Communities Department received 57 applications in total, out of which nine projects were chosen by an internal jury. We are happy to say that we have the privilege of enjoying the outlook of an external reviewer, Dr. Marie-Aude Baronian (University of Amsterdam), whose insights shed light on the chosen projects in a deeply artistic and thought-provoking manner.

 

Foreword by Marie-Aude Baronian:
Re-Imagining the Armenian Language

How do we (re)connect to and through language, and how can the Western Armenian language be revived, reinvented, reimagined, and ultimately passed on? These are some of the questions that each project aims to answer using a wide range of innovative and invigorating perspectives. Each one reflects the multifaceted aspects of the Armenian language and suggests creative ways to not only ensure its transmission but to translate its endless vivacity and transformative force.

The projects design their own specific language and voice through the art or media context that each speaks from. Whether it’s music, film, video, literature, poetry, dance, or performance, each practice enables the Armenian language to express itself and to be challenged and reanimated.

Rather than lamenting or insisting on the loss or decline of the language, the projects stress its prospective and inspirational intensity. The Armenian language is thus not conceived as fossilized or mummified; it becomes an experimental terrain through which the projects simultaneously explore its vivid memory and cultural future.

In other words, if the Armenian language refers to particular idioms and is interlaced with a very rich and dense history, it also proves to be a vibrant, sophisticated, and infinite source of inspiration. The projects do not therefore seek to limit language to a means of “nationalist” communication. On the contrary, they show its full and creative potential by investigating the resonances of language through their plural inventive and disciplinary possibilities. They demonstrate that it is not so much about owning the language but rather sharing it—a dynamic that is even more crucial and relevant in the troubled epoch and world we live in. This is the challenge and the commitment that every single project embarks on.

At once vigorous and playful, effective and affective, the Armenian language becomes the cement of Armenian culture beyond its linguistic confinement. It also enables us to re-discover alternative ways of revealing hidden narratives, singularities, and gestures that are attached to it.

After all, a language can only exist if it circulates and is shared, and that is precisely what all these original projects have in common: they generate and stimulate a fertile and stirring “kinship” moved by the ongoing liveness of the Armenian language.

 

The nine selected projects are:

Caroline Partamian, Katie Giritlian, and Mher Tarakjian, from the Armenian Creatives for “Collaboration—the Space Before Translation”, a project that examines the Western Armenian language through the lens of translation by taking a closer look at it within some of the vessels in which it is held —poetry and literature, handwritten texts, and cultural discourse.

Arik Grigoryan for “To be continued, continuous”, a project that entails the creation of new music with Western Armenian modern and classical poetry —an album consisting of various songs, where modern instruments and technology are also featured. Some of the key aspects of the project include involving the youth (both from Armenia and the Diaspora) and featuring female voices.

Garine Torossian for the project “The Art of Falling”, a feature length fiction film set in modern-day Yerevan, dealing with complex and intricate characters with whom Armenian as well as international audiences will relate to because of the issues they are struggling with, from culture to sexual identiy, the clash of two worlds and different sensibilities and more.

Noah Garabedian, Gregory Dolbashian, and Adrien Tillmann for the project “Letters from My Grandfather”, a multimedia video that incorporates dance, music, and spoken word, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, cultural discourse, and digital media, while also raising awareness of the history of the Armenian people. The goal is to create art that naturally reveals and reflects the people that made it, the place and time it was made in.

Serge Manouguian, Carine Aroyan, and Shamiram Khachatryan, for the project “Animating three short poems by Zahrad”, which is a celebration of the multidimensional talent of the Western Armenian poet Zahrad by animating three of his short poems. The project will explore the unique rhythm, musicality, and cinematic potential of the chosen works: Lentils (Ոսպ ստկող կինը), Faucets (Ծորակներ), and Velázquez (Վէլասքէզ).

Mikayel Voskanyan for the project “Golden Wave-Ոսկի ալիք”, a 40-minute contemporary Armenian musical pièce with innovative mixed-media publications, where Western Armenian folklore meets contemporary poetry written in Western Armenian, creating a space of encounter between the different “layers” of the language (popular and contemporary) and opening up the medium of language into new spaces.

Silvina Der Meguerditchian for the project “The bundle” (working title), a visual essay on the first chapter of Krikor Beledian’s novel Thresholds [Սեմեր], that aims to create a prism, a portal to this sublime work of Western Armenian literature, bringing it closer to younger audiences through an innovative means of communication.

Arpen Cinar for “Hayeren Parody”, a project that aims to keep the language lively and to reveal the intangible cultural heritage of the Istanbulite Armenian community through humor and short video sketches that poke fun at daily life.

Hrair Sarkissian for “Khentsorig”, a project that intents to produce a single-channel creative documentary film in Western Armenian to illuminate the context and history of Khentsorig —a site of displaced trauma and memory; a container of multiple imaginations, some filled with hope, while others continue to be marred by the pregnant burden of historical sadness.

The projects have different time schedules and end dates, so stay tuned for more news and for the outcomes of the projects supported.

Updated on 09 august 2022

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