MONUMENT TO THE AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF ARTSAKH
ABOUT THE MONUMENT
Monument to the Autonomous Republic of Artsakh is an augmented reality (AR) monument situated in Glendale, CA, the site of one of the largest diasporic Armenian communities in the world. The monument is a collaboration between Kamee Abrahamian, Nancy Baker Cahill, Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, and Nelli Sargsyan. It’s geolocated at the intersection of Artsakh Avenue and East Broadway, and is viewable through Baker Cahill’s AR app, 4th Wall.
The monument is dedicated to the Indigenous Armenian struggle for self-determination in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and calls for the recognition of Artsakh’s independence amid the seizure of Armenians’ ancestral lands. On October 23rd, the nonpartisan agency Genocide Watch classified the situation in Artsakh as a stage 9 state of emergency amid Azerbaijan’s campaign of ethnic cleansing in the region. The monument aims to bring visibility to this crisis, and to affirm the survival and endurance of Artsakh and its peoples’ ongoing efforts toward self-governance.
The monument features visuals by Abrahamian drawn from their “Recognize Artsakh Now” poster campaign, inspired by Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s “Color of Pomegranates.” It also features a soundscape by Sargsyan, and links to a video essay created by Abrahamian and Hakopian based on the latter’s text in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
LAUNCH & RALLY
The monument launches on Sunday, November 15th at 4pm on Artsakh Avenue in Glendale, between E. Broadway and Wilson. A rally will be held in conjunction with the launch, with speakers including Hakopian, Ara Oshagan (artist and curator at ReflectSpace), Lousine Shamamian (Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society), Hayk Makhmuryan and Niko Shahbazian (Glendale Tenants’ Union), and Ardy Kassakhian (Glendale City Council).
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Kamee Abrahamian grew up in an immigrant suburb of Toronto and was born into an Armenian family displaced from the SWANA region. They hold a BFA/BA in film and political science from Concordia University and an MA in expressive art therapy from the European Graduate Institute. They are currently pursuing a PhD in community, liberation, Indigenous and eco psychologies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Kamee has presented art, films, performances and workshops internationally. They work as the arts & creative expression tactic lead at the global feminist organization, AWID and continue to work with Kalik Arts and other organizations. Their work engages relational, generative, and liberatory practices oriented towards ancestral reclamation and diasporic futurism.
Nancy Baker Cahill is an artist working at the intersection of fine art, new media and activism. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) public art platform exploring resistance and inclusive creative expression. Through 4th Wall, she initiated Coordinates, an ongoing series of curated, collaborative, and site-specific AR public art exhibitions. Her AR public art installations include the 2019 Desert X Biennial, Facebook’s Artist in Residency, SXSW (2021), and Liberty Bell for Art Production Fund in 2020. She is the recipient of an ARC Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and is one of ten artist scholars in the Berggruen Institute’s inaugural 2020 Transformations of the Human Fellowship. In 2019, she received an “Impact Maker to Watch” award at LA City Hall and was named by the LA Times as one of the ARTS Faces of the Year. Baker Cahill serves on multiple boards including Fulcrum Arts, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) and the Kaleidoscope Activist Lens Grant.
Mashinka Firunts Hakopian is a writer and artist born in Yerevan and residing in Glendale, CA. She is a Senior Researcher at the Berggruen Institute and an Associate Editor for Noema Magazine. From 2017-19, she held a teaching appointment in UCLA’s Department of English. She holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a co-founder of the media collective Research Service with Avi Alpert and Danny Snelson, with whom she has presented projects for the Palais de Tokyo, ICA Philadelphia, the New Museum, and others. She is a Contributing Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and has contributed to Art in America, Performance Research Journal, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, and Hyperallergic. Her book, Algorithmic Bias Training: Lectures for Intelligent Machines, is forthcoming in 2020 from X Artists’ Books.
Nelli Sargsyan is an associate professor of anthropology at Emerson College, Boston, MA. As a feminist, Sargsyan situates herself at the disciplinary intersections of political anthropology, queer studies, and critical race studies, among others. In her scholarly-poetic work and teaching Sargsyan is interested in stretching disciplinary and genre boundaries to explore the multi-sensory possibilities of feminist world-making. Most recently she has been interested in political work that cultivates feminist consciousness and collective care, whether it be through direct street action, public performance, or feminist fabulation. Sargsyan’s work has appeared in academic journals such as Feminist Formations, History and Anthropology, and Feminist Anthropology, as well as on online platforms such as ARTMargins, Public Seminar, and Socioscope.
HOW TO VIEW THE MONUMENT
To view the monument, connect to wifi and download and open the free 4th Wall app. 4th Wall app requires iPhones 6s and above or Androids with ARCore (iOS11 or higher). Allow all permissions. 4th Wall does not collect any user data. Once on site, tap “Coordinates” and the artwork will appear overhead. Make sure volume is on for soundscape created by Nelli Sargsyan. Photos and videos can be captured by tapping their respective icons onscreen. For detailed instructions, please visit 4thwallapp.org/how-to-use-the-app.
ABOUT THE “RECOGNIZE ARTSAKH” POSTER CAMPAIGN
The Recognize Artsakh poster campaign was launched by Kamee Abrahamian and Karine S. Eurdekian to raise awareness around the struggle for self-determination in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. The campaign invites individuals from across the globe to download and distribute a poster designed by Abrahamian, calling for the recognition of Artsakh as an independent Republic amid Azerbaijan’s ongoing military violence and aggression in the region. To learn more, please visit recognizeartsakhnow.com
For information and analysis of the crisis in Artsakh, please see the following:
Viken Berberian, “Captive of the Caucasus: The Long War Over Nagorno-Karabakh,” The Nation
Genocide Watch, “Genocide Emergency: Azerbaijan’s Invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh”
Carina Karapetian Giorgi, Elyse Semerdjian, et al., “Open Letter to the Media: We Deserve Better Coverage of the War between Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Armenian Weekly
Mashinka Firunts Hakopian, “On the Struggle for Indigenous Self-Determination in the Republic of Artsakh,” Los Angeles Review of Books
International Armenian Literary Alliance, “IALA’s Open Letter Against War in Artsakh”
Carene Rose Mekertichyan, “Perspectives On Artsakh From A Black Armenian Angeleno,” LAist
Nelli Sargsyan, “An Armenian Feminist Call for Multi-Ethnic Peaceful Living Amidst War and Pandemic,” Ms. Magazine
Nelli Sargsyan, “The Fragility (End?) of Language at the Limits of Situated Knowledges,” Los Angeles Review of Books
Tamar Shirinian, “The Violence of Dispassionate Objectivity,” UTK Department of Anthropology
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak et al., “A Call for Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Los Angeles Review of Books
Zoravik Activist Collective, “From Hate Speech to Ethnic Cleansing: Why We Need to Get Our Facts Right about Armenia and Azerbaijan”
From ANCA (the Armenian National Committee of America):
“Take action now to hold Turkey and Azerbaijan accountable for war crimes committed against Artsakh civilians and call for recognition of the Artsakh Republic.”
To take action, please see ANCA’s Action Alerts.