Christopher Atamian, head of AGLA NY, New York based Armenian gay and lesbian advocacy group, reports for Yevrobatsi about recent cultural event co-sponsored by AGLA and Nor Alik, a leading Armenian cultural organisation.
I would particularly note these thought-provoking works by Melissa Boyajian, a fine arts student from Boston.
"On June 22nd at the LGBT Center in New York City, Nor Alik presented an innovative and diverse afternoon of Armenian culture. First Melissa Boyajian, a student at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts presented three short films, including “Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon” and “Conversational Armenian,” as well as a third film in development. Melissa noted that the last two films were meant as installation video pieces, so that viewing them as films on a screen distorted the intended effects. Still, everyone present was happy to have watched them in either form.
In “Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon,” a unseen hand wraps different material tubing (copper, string etc) around a close-up of a tongue inside an open mouth. The viewer sees the different wires being tied around the tongue over and over again until the mouth is overstuffed with wiring. The film is meant as a statement on the traditional Armenian tradition in which a woman had to keep silent for a year after getting married [Unzipped: Gay Armenia – I must admit I never heard or came across with this “traditional Armenian tradition”], but also on the general silencing of women in society, particularly in more conservative (and Armenian) societies. In “Conversational Armenian” Boyajian plays both a man and a woman on a split screen, both repeating remarkably sexist sentences reproduced verbatim from a conversational Armenian tape published a few years back in Beirut. Each lesson is interrupted by a clever riff on Armenian culture, until the last frames when the viewer is in for a little surprise..."