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!

 

wood pannels 1Photo Credits: Charlotte Poulain

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.

***

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.

 ***

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.

***

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

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!