HAYP Feature: Joseph Zakarian

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Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

Anna and I first met Joseph Zakarian in December 2014. We had just closed off our first HAYP exhibition, and went to celebrate at Jean Paul Existential Café. It seems to happen every so often in Yerevan ; you get acquainted with new people on a night out, and somehow you end up working with them on your next project, just because you realize how aligned your ideas are.

Joseph Zakarian will be our DJ and live performer for the opening night of “The Scale of Life” our upcoming exhibit. We’re very happy to be collaborating with such a talented and open minded artist. As far as his musical genre is concerned, Joseph’s influences are Detroit Techno and Chicago House, although he loves to experiment and never sticks to one style when he’s performing.

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Joseph performing in Tehran for NYE 2015. Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

An early aficionado, Joseph has been into electronic music since his school days when he started DJing at small house parties. He has always been enthusiastic about mixing, and that passion naturally evolved later to producing his own electronic music.

Joseph Zakarian was born in Amman, Jordan, and studied filmmaking and photojournalism here in Yerevan. He says that this particular environment helped him develop as an upcoming artist back then. A talented photographer, Joseph is currently working on combining his passion for electronic music with his academic background. In our opinion, marrying filming and photography with electronic music and performance definitely sounds like a good experiment to try out at HAYP…

Last month, Joseph’s photographs from the Armenian Presidential Elections Aftermath, (2007) were exhibited at Sararash art gallery, in his hometown of Amman.

Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

Armenian Presidential Elections Aftermath, 2007. Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

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Armenian Presidential Elections Aftermath, 2007. Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

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Armenian Presidential Elections Aftermath, 2007. Photo credits: Joseph Zakarian.

Luckily, Joseph Zakarian will be staying and performing in Armenia for the next few weeks, before going back to Jordan. To find out when and where his next gigs are, follow his fan page on facebook!

We’re looking forward to see him in action on Friday.

 

Charlotte Poulain

The HAYP Experiment

by Anna K. Gargarian


 

When sharing my excitement about HAYP with friends and acquaintances in Yerevan, the first reaction I get is a perplexed look followed by,

“A pop-up gallery?” To which I reply,

“Yeah, are you familiar with Pop ups?”

“Um… yes, I had them when I was a kid,” their eyebrows twisting as they try to imagine a gallery filled with spreads of books revealing standing paper cutouts of all sorts and sizes. Not a bad idea, but wrong type of Pop Up.

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Photo credits: Scott Willis, film maker at Popup Week, Amsterdam.

A Pop Up is a temporary installation in an unexpected location. The first Pop Ups were in retail and have been around for several years in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Paris, and London where real estate is expensive. Pop Up Shops allowed new companies to have sample sales, test the market and their product, without getting involved in heavy licensing. From there came the Pop Up Gallery, which took off in not only those major cities, but also bustling art hubs like Chicago, Berlin, Cape Town, and Mumbai. Amsterdam even hosts a PopUpWeek featuring events and talks on ideas, innovation, and methods of hosting a successful Pop Up.

Today there are even companies specialized in Pop Up spaces and events like Openhouse in New York, or Storefront in San Francisco. They advertise “Pop-up ready spaces” and even provide marketing and event planning to ensure a smooth Pop Up experience. Real estate brokerage companies are starting to add Pop Ups as a type of property available for clients. All of this is evidence that Pop Ups are not only a trend, but a successful enterprise with a real market.

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Outside view of Peanut Butter & Co.’s the Nutropolitan Museum of Art popup gallery in Soho, New York. Photo credit: Theresa Raffetto.

Now, I’m not going to pretend to know about the real estate market, nor am I professing to be a Pop Up expert. But I do know as a lover of art, a city person, and a curious wanderer, it’s an exciting viewing experience- an experience that is missing in Yerevan.

What do I mean by “experience”? As design arts curator Kory Rogers from the Shelburne Museum told journalist Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press, (Pop-up galleries: A growing trend in Burlington’s art scene, May 2013)

“Defining features of pop-up galleries are that they come and go, and typically appear in places not usually associated with art exhibitions. They possess an element of surprise in which viewers kind of stumble upon art when and where they don’t expect it, thus altering the experience of seeing it”.

It’s all about context. Burlington City Arts curator DJ Hellerman tells Pollak that,

“Institutions have histories and brands and reputations…You don’t get that with a pop-up gallery. You’re popping up in a space that is not your own, in a space that is temporary until somebody else comes along to claim it”.

So the experience is affected by several factors, the first is the objectivity of the viewer who is confronted with art in an unexpected space. It’s like accidentally coming across great street art, as opposed to intentionally entering a museum for the purpose of viewing art. Those are two totally different mindsets, and they affect how we see art because of what we bring to the work.

The second is the objectivity of the space. In his renowned article Inside the White Cube from 1976, art critic and historian Brian Odoherty argues that the type of galleries that came about in the 20th century were as important to modern art as the works themselves. He called them “chambers”, or sterile, white, windowless rooms removed from time, that created an almost religious experience for the viewer. HAYP is no longer following the “white cube” model, nor are we viewing art in its “original habitat” like a Madonna and Child commissioned for a Renaissance church altar. We are disrupting typical viewing contexts, and constantly changing them.

Futurist Stewart Brand converted a shipping container into his personal office space, and recorded the construction process while writing his book “How Buildings Learn.”

Futurist Stewart Brand converted a shipping container into his personal office space, and recorded the construction process while writing his book “How Buildings Learn.” Photo credits: Spasticgoat.com

I think that there’s also something to be said about the under-construction environment common to the Pop Up. In “How Buildings Learn” an excellent six-part three-hour BBC series that aired in 1997, Stewart Brand states that “low road buildings keep being valuable precisely because they’re disposable”. In other words, what Brand calls “low road buildings”, or cheap spaces, are actually more empowering structures to inhabit. Brand says that their malleability inspires change, it makes you active instead of passive, which inspires freedom, creativity and experimentation. The most creative enterprises happen in these types of spaces. That’s exactly what HAYP is all about: experimentation. We hope to inspire experimental art, and also create an experimental space where ideas can be shared and new projects can be born. On a larger scale, we hope that HAYP will make the public see the potential of these spaces and how important art is to making us see and reinterpret our environment in order to envision a better future.

With this in mind, how context affects the way we view and show art, we are excited to start the HAYP experiment! In the spirit of this theme, we will open our first Pop Up in December with the exhibition, “Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective”. If you’re in Yerevan, we hope that you’ll pop by our Pop Up.

CALL TO ARTISTS!

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“Frame of Mind: Context and Perspective”

HAYP Premiere, Collective Exhibition and a Week of Cultural Events

December 2014, Location TBD

CALL TO ARTISTS:

HAYP is looking for contemporary artists in Yerevan for its upcoming exhibition “Frame of mind: Context and Perspective”. Artists are invited to explore how context and perspective shape the way we see. Our culture, upbringing, and personal experiences influence our world view, each one of us has a unique perspective. What is your personal frame? How can you bring us into your space? Participating artists will investigate ways of seeing through both physical space and conceptual abstraction. The aim of this exhibition is to encourage dialogue, understanding, and open-mindedness through the artists’ creative looking glass.

EVENTS:

During our ten days of exhibition, we will host events to help promote start-ups, projects, and artists. Our space is a platform for the exchange of ideas and culture. Do you have a presentation idea in mind? Let us know! See the guidelines below.

Deadlines:

Artist Application: Until December 1, 2014.

Event Application: Until December 5, 2014.

Submission Guidelines:

Art Submission:

  • Send all applications to hayp@gmail.com
  • If you are applying as an artist please address the subject of your email as: “[your name] Art Submission”
  • Send us a brief (50 words or less) description of yourself (artist bio).
  • Send us a website or facebook page with images of your work if you have one, or some images via dropbox or wetransfer.com. Please do not send image files directly to our email address, it will clog our inbox!
  • Send us a brief description of the concept for your art piece, OR, a description of a piece you already have that fits under this theme (with images, see above for image guidelines).
  • A maximum of 4 works allowed per person.

 

Event Submission:

  • Send all applications to hayp@gmail.com
  • If you are applying to submit an event please address the subject of your email as: “[your name] Event Submission”
  • Events will be hosted throughout the Pop Up Week in the evenings. We encourage any event on contemporary art and innovation in Armenia. Examples include: artist talks, film screenings, musical performances, dance, and art performance.

 

Deadlines:

Artist Application: Until December 1, 2014.

Event Application: Until December 5, 2014.

 

Application downloads in pdf format:

English

Hayeren (Armenian)

Welcome to HAYP!

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Hello everyone and welcome to HAYP, Armenia’s first Pop Up gallery! As you can tell, our Blog is a little sparse, but that’s because we’re just getting started. Keep checking in to see articles on contemporary art, culture, and innovation in Armenia. We will address global themes and welcome an international public. If you have an idea for an article that you’d like to contribute, let us know! This is OUR platform, that means you too. Coming soon: our behind the scenes articles on the making of our Pop up!