9 March, 2016

participants of the discussion - Hrach Bayadyan, Hrant Galstyan

If the civil society activists had multiple reasons to carry the struggle in the legal direction, the selection of its methods, particularly the aestheticization, was mainly due to the resources at hand (photo and video cameras, smartphones, bluetooth, livestream, online media, TVs, social networks, etc.). However, the technical means of the production of writing and its distribution along with the civil struggle and new possibilities of self-organization have generated also challenges - unthinkable until then (media manipulations, fake initiatives and information leakages, etc.) - that can oppose that same struggle, constrain and neutralize it. Media are not a mere device but, as Régis Debray says, a relationship between objects and instruments. It defines and simultaneously dictates their implementation methods.
The demonstrativeness has strategic importance in those methods. The public sphere governed by media is in a sense compulsory-voluntary regime of positioning and expression. The gesture dominates in the practices of Bagramyan’s demonstrators too. How do the information dissemination tools and the social media impose methods of public protest?

Wasn’t the preference given to the visual and discursive forms a tactical display of those methods? How was the media disposed on this and the other side of the barricade along Baghramyan avenue?

Hrach Bayadyan is a cultural critic, a lecturer in Yerevan State University. He is in charge of the “Communication, meda and society” Master’s program in the Department of Journalism and among other courses teaches Media and Cultural Studies. His recent articles are on post-Soviet media culture and changes in urban spaces, Russian-Soviet orientalism, postcolonialism and the questions of Armenian cultural identity.

Hrant Galstyan graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Journalism in Yerevan State University in 2010, from 2012 to 2015 studied in the “Communication, media and society” Master’s program of the same department. Since 2015 he has been working in “Hetq” as a journalist.

The public program of the project “(Im)potences: Power against Love” has double aim. On the one hand it proposes to analyse the material that lies on the basis of the project, on the other hand - to discuss the problems that emerge from the content layers of the project.

The subject of the project is accordingly the sit-in on the Baghramyan avenue, the media used by the participants during the sit-in, the performative practices adopted from other social revolts (flashmob, mic check, etc.), the photo and video images (showing the gestures and movements) produced, the pronounced words (calls, appeals, foul language), the voiced and written criticism about them. The project in its turn, on the one hand with aestheticization of the feelings of love, solidarity, wistfulness and regret, and on the other hand with ethicalization of the conceptual perceptions of the author of the project about the role of art and the artist, gives an opportunity to discuss the problem of the connection between art and politics in general. For the planned four meetings prominent Armenian media theoreticians, literary critics, cultural critics, art theorist and art critics will be invited who will discuss and will comment on the issues of interest to the art-loving and politically active public.