Photographs by Melanya Hamasyan Available to view for the month of April anytime the studio is open.
Transitory Frames - Dehistoricized Spaces
These set of captured video frames are taken from a discourse among people of the Armenian descent, whose ancestors have immigrated to the United States as a direct result of the Armenian Genocide. They speak of the forgotten cities, villages, and churches of their ancestors. They speak of fear and loss of identity along with the loss of ancient cultural and historical spaces. Although the tragedy of the physical genocide has ceased, cultural genocide is still being carried out. In current eastern Turkey (historic Armenia), places are recontextualized to exclude Armenian historical presence. Ancient Armenian monuments and churches are being destroyed or appropriated as barns and geographical spaces are renamed. As a result, ancestral spaces are dehistoricized and people uprooted.
My work often involves cultural and social issues which I explore in photography, video, performance, and multimedia sculpture. These often take the form of installation or socially engaging art. Whether social, historical or literary, research is an integral part of my process as it provides a framework for the final product. In the past I’ve studied Armenian folklore in photography. I’ve created dialogue in visual poetry using voice, movement, and space within the medium of digital video. Recently I’ve begun to explore dehistoricized spaces and cultural genocide in multimedia. In all my projects, the chosen theme is one that I am personally attached to but also one that is often a question due for research. Hence, my work isn’t purely documental, as it also enters a very personal realm. Within this realm, there is a strong presence of an intimate act of the hand, whether in the form of calligraphy on bread, puppetry or photographic composition. This in turn creates an intimation of my presence, suggesting a very personal relationship to the question at hand.