When I woke up the sun had moved
We go from one place to another and adapt to the new environment. Movement means life. We move, therefore we are alive. The heart palpitates; it pumps blood to the veins and creates life. We go from one place to another to save or to better our lives.
When I woke up, the sun had moved is an installation in the minimalist spirit, and it's about movement, created by robots and by humans. Movement has always interested visual artists and has resulted in a description, such as with futurists, or the mechanical movement, such as with kinetic artists. Minimal and post-minimal sculptors have also dealt with movement, by using fragmentation and repetition of forms in the space. As an evolution towards movement and freedom, post-minimal sculptors proposed free forms and dispersion in the exhibition space, an allusion to movement.
9 small, wheeled robots move around and follow choreography. They dance to the sound of a soundtrack and sometimes interact with each other. They resemble post minimal sculptures, but they move in real time. They create a visual performance to be seen by the viewer, on a purely formal level, where colors and shapes move and create different compositions. A human performance, inspired by the movements of the robots, meaning simple circular or straight movements that can be performed also by the viewers, complements the robotic performance. The results of both performances find their cohabitation on the wall where traces of both apear together.
Automatic writing, visual alphabet
This is the progression of the Marks, started in 2006. The visual writing in this series has become more autonomus and instead of covering a layer of existing painting, it is structured by layers of marks, sometimes bold and sometime more playful and subtle.
Sound installation, 2009
Installation sonore d'Alina Mnatsakanian
Le Musée d'histoire de La Chaux-de-Fonds accueille, jusqu'au 30 septembre prochain, une installation sonore de l'artiste multimédia arménienne Alina Mnatsakanian. Cette création, intitulée «Our Stories» («Nos Histoires») est présentée dans le cadre de Neuchàtoi 2009.
«Our Stories» est la reprise sur territoire neuchâtelois d'un projet réalisé en 2003 en Californie. «J'ai travaillé avec des jeunes d'une école multiculturelle», explique l'artiste. «Je leur ai demandé d'expliquer d'où ils venaient, d'exprimer leurs désirs, en s'exprimant dans leur langue maternelle.»
Sound Installation and video, 2003
Our Stories creates an atmosphere to showcase some of the languages spoken in our community, or in a more abstract way, to experience the sounds of various languages. Another idea of the project as a whole was to create an atmosphere for the youth to express themselves and learn about each other. During the workshops students interacted with one another and tried to be more accepting, something that is lacking in our society.
More than 50 students, in Glendale, California, participated in workshops conducted for Our Stories. The outcome of the workshops was stories, sound recordings in 11 languages (Armenian, English, Farsi, French, Goujrati, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, Sinhalese, Spanish and Urdu) and artworks. All stories are translated in English, Spanish and Armenian.
This project is made possible, in part, by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities as part of the Council’s statewide California Stories Initiative. The COUNCIL is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit www.californiastories.org.
Our Cyclopean Walls
Site specific insatallation, Ldjashen, Armenia, 2012
Photos and digital images, 2013
Our cyclopean walls is an art project, which proposes a reflection and an action on the prehistoric cyclopean walls in Armenia by correlating them with a contemporary question: waste management.
Cyclopean walls take us to the traces of old civilizations. According to Greek mythology, only the Cyclops – giants with an eye in the middle of the forehead - had the force to move massive rocks to create the walls of Mycenae and Tiryns. Cyclopean walls exist also in Armenia. Is that the work of the Armenian Cyclops? In any case, in a country like Armenia, often called the country of the stones, the existence of cyclopean walls seems to be a normal phenomenon, with or without the intervention of the Cyclops.
While observing the cyclopean walls and the landscapes of Ldjashen, in the shores of the lake Sevan, one moves away from the current reality and travels in a marvelous world of giant creatures. But while walking towards these historic structures, one awakens in front of the daily realities of the modern world, by discovering the urban waste thrown around carelessly: papers, packing materials, bottles etc. Here comes the confrontation of the two realities: on one hand historical walls pointing out the existence of a prehistoric civilization and on the other hand, waste related to our current lifestyles.
Alina Mnatsakanian, with the collaboration of Sevak association, a non-profit organisation based in Switzerland, France and Armenia, proposed an art project, “Our cyclopean walls”, combining art and social action. A community building art that involved the inhabitants of the region and at the same time served as an educational tool for environmental issues and preservation of the cultural heritage. It’s about provoking the reaction of the inhabitants and visitors by creating a work of art with a strong symbolism.
Mirroring the true vestiges of the cyclopean walls of Ldjachen Alina Mnatsakanian created a wall with the rubbish collected on this historic site. The art installation has the vocation to challenge the visitors on the historical past of Armenia as well as on the current situation of the country and the future generations.
Collaborator: Sevak association
Partially funded by
SDC - Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
City of Yerevan
Village of Ldjashen
Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (ACSL)
Alina Mnatsakanian is a multilingual and multicultural transmedia artist. Armenian by origin, Alina Mnatsakanin has lived in Tehran, Paris, Los Angeles and since 2005 she lives and works in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Alina Mnatsakanian’s research is concentrated on two parallel lines: paintings and installations, that sometimes converge. Loyal to her beginnings as a painter, in 2006 she started a series of paintings with a vocabulary resembling an alphabet: the “Marks”. “Marks” are paintings in multiple layers that represent the multitude of experiences that each person has during their lifespan and the need to put their signatures on their surroundings to be able to continue to exist and be fulfilled. In her recent work Alina explores digital conversions of the “Marks”. Using Artificial Intelligence algorithms, she transforms movement to “Marks” which repeat themselves and create multiple layers, similar to ones happening in her paintings.
In her installations Alina addresses issues that are dear to her. Her research about identity in relation to territory and language, sometimes takes an autobiographical form and sometimes is dedicated to similar experiences in the others. Rejection of injustice is another important issue for Mnatsakanian where she doesn’t hold back on expressing her opinions through installations and performances. The accumulation of the information and the experience translates into ideas, shapes and colors: layers of still or moving images, sounds or simple brushstrokes. There is no discrimination of media. Every new experience requires a unique treatment, from painting and sculpture extending to video, performance and robotics.
Her interest in technology takes a turn in 2007, when she receives a production grant from the Swiss Ministry of Culture for an installation with 5 videos and a robot, which was made through collaboration with the robotics department of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In 2009 she follows her robotic explorations with the Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Lugano, through a grant from the Artists-in-Labs program, funded by the Swiss Ministry of Culture.
Self Portrait, installation, 1997
Installation, 1997: digital images, 2008
Containers that hold our internal belongings, our values, our fears… A container holds a physical portrait; another one holds fragments of a culture: letters, home, etc., and the other one holds soil, the base of any living creature. There are also the unknowns.
I was born on February 11th
I was born on February 11th. Nobody ever told me that it was a special day, except for my family of course. Nobody knew that 21 years later my birthday would become a very special day for the entire country of Iran. My 21st birthday coincided the day of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. What if I were born 21 years later? How would I be? Would I have a different life and a different set of rules? Would I look differently? Would I feel differently? Would I feel comfortable following all the rules and regulations?
The good, the bad, the ugly
A series of 6 digital images, 2013
Video, 39", 2013
Ce ne sont pas les conditions du centre de détention ou les techniques de torture qui différencient Guantanamo des autres prisons. Ce sont plutôt la manière et les raisons de choisir les détenues et les garder hors de toute juridiction.
Qui sont ces détenus ? De quoi sont-ils coupables et pourquoi ? Qui décide de leur culpabilité ? Est que les personnes qui prennent les décisions peuvent-elles être coupables aussi ? Est-ce qu’un gouvernement peut être aussi coupable ? Vis à vis de qui ?
Le dilemme se trouve dans la distinction entre ce qui est légal et ce qui est illégal. Comment l’illégal d’hier peut être le légal d’aujourd’hui et à son tour décider ce qui est légal. Les combattants légaux et illégaux. La guerre, le terrorisme, la terreur et l’incertitude…