“Tbilisi” Impressions by Laure Raffy

Photos and text by Laure Raffy
Translation by Anna Gargarian

Original text in French language below English text.


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A four day trip for the HAYP Pop Up team to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Objective: to feel the city’s pulse and feed our plans to establish a permanent gallery space in Yerevan in the upcoming months. An opportunity to meet key players and to weave the initial threads of partnership with a neighboring country, as we begin to envision future collaborations.

Ambling through a city full of stories, historic buildings, and wonders to discover veiled behind urban facades, we take in (on the fly) inspiration, ideas, and lots of images.

A meeting with Tamara Janashia leads us to many others: gallerists, printers, artists.
The Nectar Gallery, perched on a small hill, reveals the colossal work of Elene Chantladze that combines writing, drawing, collage, and painting on stone; a lifetime’s work that offers a narrative about intimate space and important moments.

Time to catch our breath and grab a coffee on the terrace of Stamba Hotel, former printing house renovated into hotel complex. An industrial space that highlights the gears and mechanisms of the machines it once housed. It is here that we meet Irina Popiashvili before she invites us to a private space where she collects the works of several artists; a creative incubator where she nurtures artists with a graceful rigor. She brings us to the department of Visual Art, Architecture and Design at the Free University of Tbilisi, where Irina is the Dean. A precious moment that invites us into discover creative studios, filled with ideas and treasures in the making. The chance to meet students, inspired and inspiring, impressive in their tenacity and strength, confronting materials as massive and rigid as wood and steel .. We (re)encounter some of them on Saturday night in an apartment atop the city’s outskirts; an intimate space that is home to an exhibition curated by the students themselves.

On this short trip we have the privilege of meeting artist Tamuna Chabashvili, who mainly uses textile as “final object” in an engaging work that brings together tedious research, investigation, and careful collecting of stories. Along the way, we discover the underground Patara art gallery, which urges us to explore the border between private and public space, and the importance of introducing art within the lived urban environment. A visit to the Window Project gallery reveals bold scenographic display, an intervention by a contemporary artist/designer that took inspiration from the exhibition’s focus: the art works of the late Vakhtang Kokiashvi.

Planning to develop a future print department, HAYP can’t miss out on a visit to Cezanne printing house, highly recommended for the quality of its catalogs and artist books. An encounter that revealed (or confirmed) the vast range of possibilities for book formats, textures, and binding methods … revealing, yet again, that the book serves as both archive and extension of an art work, an artifact in its own right.

Four days of meetings, a perpetual dialogue between the historic and contemporary, industrial and artisanal, massive and undeniably refined. Sprinkled with impressions, scribbled papers, porcelains, and found objects along the unbeaten path.

And so, more to come….


original text:

Déplacement de l’équipe de HAYP Pop Up dans la capitale Georgienne, Tbilisi. Ce, afin d’en prendre le poul et alimenter encore le projet de galerie physique et permanente qui prendra place à Yerevan, dans les prochains mois. L’occasion de rencontrer des acteurs, tisser une première toile de partenaires dans un pays voisin et imaginer de possibles collaborations.

Un détour dans une ville emplie d’histoire(s), d’édifices historiques, de merveilles à découvrir au verso des façades. Un moment permettant d’attraper en vol, inspirations, idées, et beaucoup d’images.

Une rencontre avec Tamara Janashia nous mène vers bien d’autres : galeristes, imprimeurs, artistes. La Galerie Nectar perchée sur une petite colline dévoile le travail colossal d’ Elene Chantladze, mêlant écriture, dessins, collages, peintures sur roches. Oeuvre d’une vie proposant une lecture de l’espace intime et de certains faits marquants. Le temps de reprendre son souffle et commander un café sur la terrasse du Stamba Hotel, ancienne imprimerie réhabilitée en complexe hôtelier. Un espace industriel où sont aujourd’hui sublimés, les rouages et mécaniques des anciennes machines.
C’est ici que l’on rencontre Irina Popiashvili avant qu’elle nous conduise dans un espace où elle conserve plusieurs travaux d’artistes. Une pépinière de créateurs qu’elle soutient avec force et velour. Cette visite nous mène à l’école d’Arts visuels et d’architecture dont Irina est la doyenne. Moment précieux nous permettant de découvrir quelques ateliers emplis d’idées et de trésors en devenir. L’occasion de rencontrer des étudiants, inspirés et inspirants, impressionnants par leur tenacité et leur force, faisant face, à des matériaux aussi massifs et rigides que le bois et l’acier.. On en (re)découvre certains d’entre-eux, le samedi soir, dans cet appartement, planté sur les hauteur de la ville. Espace intimiste, abritant une exposition commissariée par les étudiants eux même.
S’offre durant ces quelques jours, le privilège de rencontrer l’artiste Tamuna Chabashvili, qui utilise principalement le textile comme « objet final » d’un travail engagé, fastidieux de recherches, d’enquêtes, de collecte d’histoires. Sur notre passage, on découvre l’espace galerie souterrain Patara qui nous interroge encore sur la lisière entre espace privé et public et l’intérêt d’introduire l’art où les individus circulent. Nous visitions la galerie Window Project mêlant des choix scénographiques audacieux et l’intervention d’artistes/designers sur les œuvres d’un créateur initial, aujourd’hui disparu, Vakhtang Kokiashvi.

Dans son souhait de développer un volet « publication », HAYP se doit un passage à l’imprimerie Cezanne, recommandée pour la qualité d’impression de catalogues et livres d’artistes. Un moment révélant (ou confirmant) le large panel de possibilités en termes de format, texture, mode de reliure… Une visite révélant de nouveau que si le livre peut accompagner l’oeuvre, il peut aussi se penser comme « objet d’art », à part entière.

4 jours et un mélange de rencontres, un perpétuel dialogue entre historique et contemporain, industriel et artisanal, massif et indéniablement fin. Parsemés de notes, de papiers griffonnés, de porcelaines, d’objet chinés au fil des marches.

A suivre, donc.

Aaaaand we’re back

by Charlotte Poulain


As you may have noticed, HAYP hasn’t been popping up all that often in 2016. Our first project this year (and biggest to date) was Lips of Pride, a collective exhibit focused on women’s sexuality and societal perceptions of shame in Armenia. We haven’t been idle since: we organized an aerial dancing performance by Marcela Perez at 44 SkyBar in June, as well as a full day workshop with HARTAK festival on how to test your business idea with a pop up.

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At the same time, we’ve been working on several projects that will come to life this fall and next spring. Anna’s also been invited to talk about art and entrepreneurship at AIWA’s 25th anniversary conference in Boston this September (‘cause she’s fabulous). Bostonians may even expect to see a pop up in their neighborhood for the occasion (more details coming soon).

…And now the awesome news is: HAYP Pop Up Gallery is back this summer with a major event this Friday! (Facebook event here)

This time around, we’re working in collaboration with the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). For those of you who don’t know it yet, the ICA is a Yerevan-based institution that offers art classes, hosts artists in residence, and curates exhibitions. Their venue on Fizkulturnikner street recently underwent renovation, so their Director and Curator Nazareth Karoyan decided a mural was in order, and they commissioned Yerevan-born artist Samvel Saghatelian for the job.

Back in November, we had worked with Samvel to curate a solo exhibit in the secret back room of a vape shop called Misty Fumes. The exhibition was titled “Enter Through the Smoke Shop” and presented Samvel’s “PolitIcal and Personal Protest signs”, a series of graphic sign boards playing with Latin and Armenian letters. Perhaps the most iconic of these works was “LOVE is electric Է”, created by the artist in June 2015 at the time of the Electric Yerevan protest.

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The mural at the ICA is a scaled-up elaboration on that work. Just as this year’s protests have grown in intensity, Samvel Saghatelian’s demand for love has multiplied in scale from hand-held sign board to the entire building facade. Because it deserves to be inaugurated in style, HAYP Pop Up Gallery and the ICA have joined forces to curate the second edition of Samvel Saghatelian’s “Political and Personal Protest Signs”. If you didn’t get to see his works in November for HAYP 5.0, now’s your chance!

Join us for LOVE ICA – is electrIC Again”, the mural’s public inauguration and a HAYP exhibition opening on Friday, August 26 at 7PM, at the ICA (Facebook event here). Wine and music can be enjoyed in the ICA’s garden, and in front of Samvel’s larger than life artwork. Don’t miss out!

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LOCATION:
48 Fizkulturnikner Street (at the end of 5th st in Aygestan district of Yerevan behind Alek Manukyan st).

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Vardavar 2016 – HAYP concepts

Last Sunday, July 3rd, people flooded (pun intended) the streets of Yerevan with buckets, water-guns, water balloons, and other water artilleryin-hand, ready to splash passersby for Vardavar. Vardavar is an Armenian holiday that stems from pagan origins, originally celebrating fertility, good crops, and the goddess Astghik. Today, its just an excuse to shower strangers with water and playfully cool off from Armenias powerful heat. It gets intense, and theres definitely a lot of unfair play that borders on being dangerous, like people getting thrown into the not-so-deep swan lake (sounds like fun – until you break a limb). You either love it or hate it, and for the hatersits recommended to stay indoors.

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For the first time, Armenias beloved TUMO Center for Creative Technologies organized a Vardavar event on its surrounding grounds. TUMOs park and fountains were transformed into a one-day water park for kids and adults alike to celebrate Vardavar with a creative edge. The event theme: a Vardavar GIF day. TUMO invited several companies and organizations to design and set-up their individual game-stands that would engage participants. Each stand was also handed a waterproof iPad so that they could document the action with a GIF. Impact Hub had a large water slide, DEEM communications had an old-school car wash etc.

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View of the TUMO grounds on Vartavar. Photo credits: Gevorg Perkuperyan Photography

HAYP was also invited to participate, and we contacted artist and architect Sona Manukyan to collaborate on a potential water-themed installation piece. We designed several proposals, but in the end, time and funding were too short to carry out the project as we saw fit. Regardless, we spent a lot of time putting together some ideas, and we thought wed share with you our renders and concepts. The area we selected was the TUMO cement bus stop at the park entrance. Here are the ideas we came up with.

IDEA 1: The cloud

Render of the bus stop with a hovering cloud installation:

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This installation had several sources of inspiration. While thinking of water and its cleansing properties, we thought of a work that would send a powerful and positive message concerning the environment. We thought of the transformative properties of water, and also the dire state of pollution in Armenia. The result: a hovering white form within the bus stop frame that from afar would look like a cloud, and from up close, would reveal hundreds of suspended individual objects. On one side, we envisioned droplet-like shapes that would hang from transparent fishing-line string. The materials of these shapes would be white plastic bags, metallic cans, and other white, translucent and/or reflective reusable materials. On the other side, a series of suspended crystals would capture the surrounding light and give the illusion of rainfall or water droplets.

Our renders:

 

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This render shows a matrix of barely-visible fishing line on which each item is fastened.

Conceptually, the cloud shows a transformation of trashinto crystals, in other words the potential for positive change as well as a subtle reference to the economic potential of a green economy. From an experiential perspective, some of the hanging items would be white water balloons, and we hoped that people would play beneath the cloud and pop some balloons.

Some examples of inspiring crystal installations:

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IDEA 2: The Blue Maze

This installation idea utilizes the same location, but features a series of zig-zagging twisted blue sheets of cloth that would connect one side of the bus stop to the other. From a distance, the colorful labyrinth of blue, turquoise, and white cloth intertwined intends to give the illusion of a splashing waterfall or misty haze.

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From an experiential perspective, the maze was intended to be a game in which kids could climb through and over the cloth. The type of material that we were going to select would have been spongy and absorbent, so that as the structure would get wet from the surrounding fun and games, the  sculpture itself would begin to drip as an extra effect.

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In the end, our collaboration was postponed for technical reasons that were mentioned earlier. HAYP is all about having fun, but also while maintaining our mission for supporting and encouraging contemporary art and artists. We simply felt that with the amount of time we had to plan and build, we wouldnt be able to uphold our standard for quality product and work. Regardless, TUMO Vardavar was a successful day of fun and games for kids and families who enjoyed a new twist off of a long-standing local tradition.

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Fun in the park at TUMO. Photo credits: Tumo.org

Summer ‘16 with HAYP Pop Up Gallery

Happy summer everyone! Wondering what’s in the works for HAYP these next few months? Here’s a little insight into our upcoming plans.

What’s the news with FLOW?

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First off, you may have heard of or been wondering about our plans for FLOW, a summer festival for which we have been contacting artists, potential partners and funders for the past year. The project is large-scale and involves several international visual artists, and many international musical performers. The public interest and appeal is there, but the challenges lie in other expected (and unexpected) areas. A primary concern for us is everyone’s safety, especially considering the location’s proximity to the NK border. Due to recent political unrest at the borders, both the HAYP team and some of our sponsors have decided that August 2016 is not an optimal moment. For now the project is temporarily on hold. This news is both disappointing and also a blessing in disguise, as we think more time will give us the opportunity for better results. 

That said, we have other exciting projects in stock. Here’s the line-up:

June 23: A Pop-Up Performance

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Coming soon is an Aerial Dance Performance by Armenian-Argentinian dancer Marcela Perez. You may remember seeing Marcela perform at HAYP back in April 2015 at ANKAPital. Marcela is back from Buenos Aires and HAYP seized the opportunity to collaborate once again. What’s new this time around? We are adding some major height to her act. Marcela will be suspended from above for her aerial choreography, but this time we get to experience her whimsical movements on the rooftop lounge at Opera Suite Hotel.

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The bar is called Forty-Four Sky, and cocktails, food, and hookah are available alongside a spectacular view of Yerevan. Don’t miss out on this one-time special event. There will be a showing on Thursday, June 23rd at 8:30pm and 9:30pm. DJ set to follow.

June 25: HAYP Workshop for HARTAK FESTIVAL

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The second event happening in June is a Pop Up Workshop organized in the framework of the Hartak Festival organized by AEON anti-café. The workshop goal is to guide participants on how to make their ideas happen. This 3-hour workshop will involve a short presentation by HAYP, and especially hands-on work by workshop members. We’ll go over how to thoroughly develop a concept through market research and public feedback, how to seek out partnerships, locations, sponsors and more. We will share our experience and know-how on how to transform an idea into a reality. Join us with an idea, enthusiasm, and ready-to-work energy! More info and sign up available on the Hartak Festival website here. We are waiting for you!

July 3: HAYP for TUMO on VARDAVAR

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HAYP Pop Up Gallery is going to join the Tumo team to celebrate Vardavar 2016, happening this year on July 3rd. HAYP will be among the various collaborators invited to participate at a day full of events, installations and fun in the major park surrounding TUMO center. We will curate a unique art installation inspired by this pagan water festival. More info coming soon, so stay tuned!

 

 

Behind the Scenes – Video making-of!

By Charlotte Poulain


Did you know… That crowdfunding projects with videos are 85% more likely to reach their funding goals than those without? This recent research conducted on over 7,000 Kickstarter projects speaks millions about the importance of showing people what you’re about, rather than just telling them.

In a world where anything above 140 characters is considered too long, we tend to skim through texts and hop from one tab to another without really reading. Actually, you probably won’t make it to the end of this article without checking your phone, email or social media feeds – so I’ll get straight to the point. We were about to start a crowdfunding campaign, and we obviously wanted to reach our funding goal; we needed a video. It’s all about bettering the odds!

Our expertise in video-making being limited to holiday souvenirs, Anna and I started scouting for a good film maker who could help us make an awesome presentation video. After all, a terrible video would probably do much more damage to our campaign than having no video at all.

 

Yerevan is our oyster

One of the many great things about Yerevan is what a small world it can be.

I arrived in Armenia one week before my 23rd birthday, and organized a small gathering in a bar with just six people – which was, at that time, the extent of my network in Yerevan. My friend Shaunt, whom I had just met at a wedding, introduced me to a girl named Kohar, whom he had just met on the plane. I bumped into her a few times after that, and subsequently learned that Kohar Minassian was a film director currently volunteering in Armenia through Birthright.

Anna and I met with Kohar over lunch mid-October and she accepted to shoot our presentation video. We exchanged ideas on what the final result should look like: a short video (under 2 minutes) with Anna and I presenting HAYP’s objectives to the camera in an unfinished place. We also wanted to show some art-making, and had a light bulb moment when we decided to make our logo… real size, as a big red room separator.

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Our story board, designed by Anna Gargarian

 

 

Tumo Center for New Technologies agreed to let us use their top floor, currently under construction, for the video shooting. Now, those of you living in Yerevan certainly know about Tumo already. For those who don’t, Tumo is a non-profit venture that offers teenagers after-school education in various areas such as design, photography, digital art, video game design or robotics, all free of charge. They organize events like artist talks, concerts and big conferences such as TEDx Yerevan. Tumo’s building is also host to a number of amazing technology and media companies like Picsart.

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Photo credits: Tumo Center for Creative Technologies

The building is impressive from the outside, located on Tumanyan park, on a smooth hill watching over Yerevan. From the inside it is… amazing. Huge, transparent, flexible. As Anna puts it: “this is what I would expect Google to look like”.

Needless to say, when Tumo agreed to let us film in there, we were hyped up already… And then we discovered their amazing last floor: an unfinished space, large windows all around, and a 360 degree view of Yerevan, including Mount Ararat.

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Photo credits: Charlotte Poulain

 

Lasagna, crafts and wood panels

 

Our video was not expensive to make. Basically what we needed was material to make our HAYP logo, aka wood, nails, red paint and brushes.

The day before shooting, we had a big HAYP gathering at my house over lasagna (having lived two years in Italy, Anna is kind of our Pasta-Master here). All of our extended HAYP network was there to discuss the next day’s shooting and ideas for upcoming exhibitions and articles… and help us stir red paint.

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Photo credits: Charlotte Poulain

 

Next morning Anna and I set out to do some wood shopping on Vardanants street. Do you know how to say wood panel in Armenian? We certainly do now!

 

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The most challenging part was transporting those 2 meter-high wood panels to our apartment, fasten them together with hinges, and then lug them all the way to Tumo Center, which is located a bit outside Yerevan.

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Upon arrival, we met with Kohar and the three of us inspected the last floor of the Tumo center to find the best shooting spot in terms of light and background noise. We re-arranged the chairs and the camera a few dozen times, put on our sound equipment lent by Tumo, and did our first take.

We had prepared our script the night before, and really focused on explaining the aim of a pop up gallery and why we wanted to do it in Yerevan.

The sun slowly went down, and as we shot what seemed to me the 100th take, we became increasingly stressed out and forgetful. We had a few good laughs, but as Oscar arrived, we decided it was time to give the talking a rest and start the fun part: painting!

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Photo credits : Oscar Alvarado and Kohar Minassian

 

Kohar worked hard on editing the video ; “I’ll make you look good, don’t worry”, she said. I was still anxious when I opened the first draft : nobody likes to see themselves on camera, do they? But there was no denying our message came across – and I loved the way the painting sequences were mixed with us talking. I could hear my French accent clearer than ever though.

…All of the HAYP team was very excited about the final result:

 

 

HAYPing it up on Youtube

We uploaded our video on Monday, November 24 and proceeded to share the link to everyone. I also spent some time uploading subtitles in Armenian, Russian, French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic.

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“Check out the hype” was pretty difficult to translate.


Oh, and our dear wooden logo was not discarded: it is carefully wrapped up and waiting on Anna’s balcony to pop up at our next exhibition.

C.

PS: It’s the last 10 days of our Crowdfunding campaign!

We launched our crowdfunding campaign!

by Charlotte Poulain


 

What a weekend…. Our Crowdfunding campaign went public on monday, at 3PM Yerevan-time. At midnight that day, we had already raised $955…

[Edit 26/11] AND TODAY… WE ARE 45% FUNDED.

But to reach our goal, we will need your help! So please check and share our campaign, have a look at our video, donate and choose your perk 🙂

Where? On the world’s most used (and loved) crowdfunding platform:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hayp-pop-up-gallery !

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Our campaign page… Despite the play button in the middle of my face, we think it looks pretty good 🙂

 

This campaign will allow us to buy equipment for not only our first exhibit but also those to come, and will help us organize our Premiere Exhibition-Event that will help us attract sponsorship for sustainability. Setting up our Pop Up Gallery will require $3,500, and we have 17 days to reach our goal. Our first exhibition “Frame of mind: Context and Perspective” will pop up on the 12th of December… So the countdown begins!

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Photo credit: Lilit Markosian made this banner for our facebook page. Cheers Lilit!

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Behind the scenes

The 24 hours that preceded the launch were dedicated to writing and re-writing material for our Indiegogo page and our social media, including uploading pictures and videos, sorting out the Armenian bank account and… occasionally freaking out.

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We were at this table for almost 24 hours straight, we may or may not have showered in 2 days.

 

We spent the next 10 hours telling everyone we know about the launch, preparing the follow-up, and translating and uploading subtitles for our presentation video.

We are planning on going global, and we are lucky enough to have a few polyglots on our team and network, so you can now watch the video with subtitles in English, in Armenian (big thanks to Lusine Vardanyan and Mary Hakobyan), in Russian (cheers to Natasha Sekratereva), in French (thanks to yours truly), in Italian (brava Anna), Spanish (viva Oscar), and possibly even Japanese and Portuguese will be coming soon as well.

HAYP knows no language barrier, and our Pop Up will have no frontier.

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 Photo credit: I guess I could credit myself for those perfect screenshots, but really the video was shot and edited by the amazing Kohar Minassian, at the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies.

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What’s next?

We continue rollin’ as we do: this week we are planning meetings with artists, partners and potential funders. We’ll continue working on our first exhibition, and spreading the word about HAYP in general.

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How can you help?

… Did I tell you about the crowdfunding campaign already? You can donate here and now : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hayp-pop-up-gallery

You can also share the campaign or this article with your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues, your life partners.. and also with people you don’t like that much… we’re not really picky. Everyone can make a contribution, even starting with $1 !!

Thanks for reading!

Charlotte

Behind the scenes – Take 1

by Charlotte Poulain


 

Hi there everyone, 

I am happy to inaugurate this “Behind the Scenes” segment, in which we will regularly document HAYP’s progress and activities. You’ll find out a bit more about who we are, how we started, what we’re working on now… in short, our Behind the Scenes will serve as the travel diary for our pop up.

Glad to have you on board!


 

A wild idea appears!

At the beginning of every project, there is an idea. And HAYP popped up in Anna’s mind last summer, as she she was walking around Yerevan and noticed all these abandoned buildings and vacant storefronts. As a creative person, she tends to see artistic opportunities everywhere, and those empty, dusty places certainly were one for her.

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Photo credit: Anna Gargarian

Our project really started at the end of October, when we came up with the name HAYP – Armenian Pop Up Gallery. Note to our non-Armenian followers: to fully appreciate the pun you have to know that “hay” is Armenian for “Armenian”. 

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By October 25th, Anna had a great idea, a cool name, and an overly excited French person on board (yours truly). We gained momentum as more and more people pledged to get involved. Several of our friends were interested in writing articles to feed our blog; others connected us with artists and art lovers from all over Armenia. Kohar Minassian, a gifted young film director is currently editing our promotional video; Aramazt Kalayjian from Jarakite Studios agreed to polish our logo for us.

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The pressure was on, so we refined our project proposal late into the night until it was shiny and ready to be sent out to the entire world.

In the first two weeks of November, we met dozens of artists, benefactors and professionals in various fields, and pitched the Pop Up gallery to literally everyone we bumped into. It’s been great to see so many people excited by the idea, and wanting to get involved in the project.


 

Money-money-money

Things usually get serious when the money talk begins. How much would this cost, and where would we find all the drams / dollars / euros necessary to make our Pop Up dream a reality? More importantly, how could we make our Pop Up gallery a sustainable project in the long run?

We foresee three major expenses :

1) Costs for the space. That includes the renovation expenses (cleaning, re-painting the walls), and the exhibition expenses such as lights, wall hangings, and display elements. Depending on the space, we may also need a generator for electricity, and space heaters or heating lamps.

2) The art. We want to be able to cover some of the material costs for the artist, and also have an honorarium for the artist(s) who participate in our exhibitions.

3) Marketing costs. Of course all of those efforts would be pointless if nobody were to show up to our Pop Up. So our marketing costs would include printing (flyers, posters, business cards) and other communication expenses such as filming or photography to document the project.

Of course, the costs are cheaper in Armenia than, say, in Paris. But the budget is still considerable.

We needed to work on establishing a precise budget – that part was both exhilarating and exhausting. On a sunny Saturday afternoon two weeks ago, Anna and I engaged in what can only be described as hardware shop crawling, comparing prices for drills, paint, brushes, generators, extension plugs and space heaters. The shop owners seemed slightly confused by the two foreign girls awkwardly trying to explain in Armenian what they were up to. As usually happens over here, some of them were genuinely keen on helping us, while others tried to rip us off or dismissed us completely. But at the end of the day, we had managed to create a beautiful excel table with all the prices listed, and we had also added several useful armenian words to our vocabulary. Multi-plug, wood pannel, plaster.

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Many of the items on our list would not only be used for our first pop up, but for the following exhibitions as well.

We don’t want our Pop up to be just a one-time attraction; we want it to be sustainable, to last, grow and expand – even beyond Yerevan at some point. So we worked on establishing…


 

A sustainable Pop Up business model

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How could we make our Pop Up sustainable?

We had several options for funding: we could look for sponsors, apply for various grants, start a crowdfunding campaign

Our ultimate goal was for our Pop Up gallery to be self-sustainable. Many Pop Ups around the world are efficiently financed by sponsors – mainly local and international corporations concerned with corporate social responsibility. For example, in 2013, Martini sponsored a pop up at Milan’s Design Week in order to celebrate their 150 year anniversary. They created an exclusive event and provided drinks, DJset, and performance, and successfully promoted themselves as lovers of the Arts and Design.

Here in Yerevan, the many events hosted at our Pop Up throughout its 10 days of existence would constitute a great opportunity for a local brand to associate themselves with a young and artsy crowd.

We know that a one-time grant, or a crowdfunding campaign are not sustainable in the long run. However, those two financing options will definitely give us a head start to purchase initial equipment, and set up and promote our first exhibition, that will help us attract sponsors for our future exhibitions.


 

The power of the crowd and the latino-canadian boost

Some of you may have heard of crowdfunding before – but let me explain briefly. As the name suggests, crowdfunding describes the process of financing a project by the crowd (you, me, our friends and neighbours, and people around the world) through the internet. Basically, the project description is uploaded on a crowdfunding platform (Kickstarter and Indiegogo being the most famous ones), and anyone who likes the project can make a donation (from 1$ to… much more) to make it happen.

Crowdfunding has allowed awesome ideas to become realities, in all walks of life: humanitarian causes, local businesses, art projects, films and books. A girl opened a “cafe des chats” in Paris last year thanks to the hundreds of cat-lovers who backed her idea with small donations. The Acopian Center for the Environment recently raised 30,000 dollars to buy the scientific equipment necessary to test the impact of mining pollution in Armenia. Some guy even gathered  $55,000 to make a potato salad… Of course, for all these success stories, there are always the projects that somehow don’t manage to get a single pledge, a.k.a our worst nightmare. But it won’t happen to us.

We were lucky enough to welcome the fantastic Oscar to our team two weeks ago. Oscar had had previous experience in crowdfunding and offered precious advice on the do’s and don’ts of running a successful campaign. He also added his awesome social media skills to our team, not to mention his fine taste in liqueur.

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 Together, we decided that a crowdfunding campaign was our best shot for launching a successful first Pop Up gallery by mid-december. We don’t need a crazy amount of money; we have an original idea that has a lot of public appeal. By running a crowdfunding campaign, we hope to both attract the public eye, and secure funds for setting up our first pop up exhibition. This first exhibition will then serve as an entry ticket to various funders and sponsors.

From personal experience, and extensive googling on the topic, we found out that crowdfunding campaigns with a video presentation are more likely to reach their funding goal than those without. As we obviously want to reach our goal, we shot a crowdfunding video last week with the help of our friend Kohar Minassian, at the Tumo Center for Creative Technology (thanks Tumo!) – the video shoot will be the topic of my next article.

Last thursday, we attended a conference on Crowdfunding at the American University in Armenia (AUA), during which Oscar seized the opportunity to present HAYP and our upcoming campaign. That same night, our social media accounts were up and running (and if you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook).

We decided to launch our crowdfunding campaign on Monday, November 24th.

That’s this monday – we have a busy weekend ahead of us. Our campaign will be short (and efficient… we hope), as our first exhibition is scheduled to start on Friday, December 12.

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EDIT [26/11] OUR INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN IS UP: http://igg.me/at/HAYP

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Our next Behind the Scenes article will pop up next week as well… so stay tuned !

IMG_1527Photo credit: Kohar Minassian

Charlotte