CETI LAB: HAYP at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory

September 16 – 27, 2017
Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO)
& the Herouni Radio-Optic Telescope

An artist residency, exhibition, and performance program at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory that invites artists and scientists to think together around the questions of communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence.

“CETI Lab: HAYP at BAO” is a multi-location collective exhibit that invites artists and scientists to imagine communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence. From September 16-27, 2017, the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) and the Herouni Radio-Optic Telescope in Orgov, Armenia will be transformed with site-specific installations by a diverse group of artists. The projects are the result of a summer residency at BAO in which artists and scientists imagined communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence.

Inspired by the 1971 CETI conference organized by Carl Sagan and Iosif Shklovskii in Byurakan, the artists consider the various unknown variables that frame the challenge of communication. Those include technical questions of language, transmission, reception and interaction as well philosophical concerns of free will, perception, and the consequences of successful communication. As we consider our own assumptions of “the other” and the parameters that allow for effective exchange, it becomes increasingly evident that the greatest challenge is in understanding the environment that frames these interactions.

The projects of CETI Lab are studies and explorations on the unique environment that is the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, its lifeforms, ideas and idiosyncrasies.


Tina Chakarian (US), Sona Manukyan (AM), Lvis Mejía (GE), Karen Mirzoyan (AM), Gorod Oustinov (RU), Samvel Saghatelian (AM), Manan Torosyan (AM), Arto Vaun (US), Vartan “VHSound” (AM).



Location: Herouni Radio-Optical Telescope, Orgov, Armenia.

“The unaccountable to the non-observer”, by Lvis Mejía
A site-specific installation and contemplative sonic experience on the principle of acoustic feedback.

“The Communication Machine”, by VHSound
An interactive instrument and public performance on the sound universe of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory.

Location: The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, Byurakan, Armenia.

“Polychromatic Signals” by Tina Chakarian
A kinetic acrylic polygon.

“Do they breathe?” by Sona Manukyan
A site-specific installation on reflexive communication.

“Intergalactic War Series” by Karen Mirzoyan
An exploration in the consequences of communication as seen through children image-culture and popular sci-fi narratives.

“Contact” by Gorod Oustinov
An interactive micro land art installation and collective alien-tracking device.

“Homo-Communication” by Samvel Saghatelian
A site-specific installation and study on the meeting point of communication: #TheHole.

“Start and end”, by Manan Torosyan
An outdoor sculpture on the cyclical nature of time and parallel forms of life in the universe.

“The Transgression of Light”, a poem by Arto Vaun
A meditation on the harmony and dissonance between humans and the universe.

Exhibition Photos:

Photos by Ani Djaferian

Event Week:

Sat, Sept 16
14:00 Opening of installation by Lvis Mejia, and performance by VHSound. Herouni Radio-optic telescope.
16:00 Exhibition Opening at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO).
17:00 A History & Tour of BAO
18:30 Performance by Samvel Saghatelian & VHSound, at BAO.
After 21:00, Optional star-gazing tour. Call Gabriel for reservations: 091 195 903.

Sun, Sept 17
17:00 Anthropology of Amnesia, Lvis Mejia’s Album Debut. Listening Session & conversation with the artist and panelists Ruben Arevshatyan, Historian & Critic, Arevik Sargsyan, Physicist on the memory of our environment.

Sat, Sept 23
12:00/15:00/17:00 Tours of the exhibition
17:00 Workshop with Gorod Ustinov.

Sun, Sept 24
12:00/15:00/17:00 Tours of the exhibition
18:00 – 22:00 Jam Session at the Telescope with Lvis Mejia, Vartan VHSound, HEAVY SHEPHERD, Raffi Semerjian, and others.

Event Photos:

Photos by Ani Djaferian

Artist Residency Photos:

Photos by Karen Mirzoyan and Sona Manukyan.

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