House on Wheels
Video installation, 2000
Every one goes from one place to another to get home. Some people who go from one place to another never get home. Some others get home, but always stay in exile.
(An excerpt from the video taken from Hagop Karapentz, A man and a country and other short stories, Watertown: Blue CraneBooks, 76.)
House on Wheels is a multi-media, interdisciplinary video installation addressing issues related to multi-cultural experiences.
The physical structure of the installation is a basic wooden house structure on wheels, supporting the idea of mobility and travel. Four houses made from digital transparency and mounted on wood frames hang inside the main structure. Each one of the interior houses relates to one culture and has iconography related to that specific culture.
The video component represents the idea of migration and the constant move from one place to another. It’s layered, constant layer being a repetitive walk. The begining audio is a superimposition of a phrase in four different languages. The languages are sometimes recognizable, but the general effect is a chaotic, repetitive sound, reflecting the confusion related to the multi-cultural existence. Other parts contain symbolic images of home, as well as images related to the four different cultures, combined with songs and narratives in the same languages.
The viewer enters the gallery and interacts with the space. The semi-dark room, the large-scale video projection and the moving transparent houses create a whimsical atmosphere, complemented by narratives and songs from four countries. The viewer is transported to a place that might feel foreign. Armenian, Farsi, French and English words and music fill up the space.
It's all about having to move from one place to another, feeling somewhat out of place and different. It's also about having the privilege of experiencing more than one heritage, sense of belonging to more than one culture.