about us

Utopiana.am was founded in 2001 with the aim of struggling against the isolation of the Armenian artists and intellectuals both locally and globally.

In 2005, thanks to the “Steghtsagortsaran” project, Utopiana.am was structured as a  kind of polymorphous production workshop, and a platform for interdisciplinary reflections.

Encounters, residencies, conferences and publications form these artistic and cultural practices, questioning thereby  social and political transformations. In order to present or to show these projects, Utopiana.am collaborates with different institutions and organisations.

Thanks to the efforts of its collaborators and its different partners, Utopiana.am has been able to survive and develop under difficult conditions. In times of political and social instability, it also faces the challenge of precarious financing. The sustainable development of its structure is hampered by the fact that the financings coming from abroad are partial and limited in time. This becomes even more tangible in a country where the contemporary mind and creation remain marginalized.

Based on this experience, between 2009 and 2012, Utopiana.am has chosen to focus its projects on four main themes: archive, work, sustainable development and public space. Those themes possess both a local and global relevance.

Utopiana.am is juridically a “non governmental creative cultural organization”.

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ACTV

Today we become the witnesses and the participants of an important phase in the social behavior of the Armenian society, which is the redefining and the rethinking of the public space into physical, theoretical and virtual formats, as well as the creation of a new type of public space and the acknowledgment of its importance in contemporary social processes.

The media, the internet in particular, plays an important role in this process because it not only represents or interprets reality but also becomes a kind of public space as a tool for shaping itself within its own borders. The media interferes with the physical reality, influences it, identifies with it, then disappears and once again separates from it.

Utopiana is now launching a new online television project, ACTV, which aims to use art as a tool to study, analyze, present and take part in this process, as well as become an alternative platform for the development of these processes.

For this purpose, AC TV creates 4 main platforms within which it will develop its future activities.

1. Examining and getting to know the public space –  requiring long research, this platform aims to investigate, identify, inventory and analyze familiar and unfamiliar, recognized and/or neglected public lands.

2. Anti-advertising – parody advertisements, which will try to satirize and mock common public clichés and stereotypes.

3. Men-  short, portrait- style films about unusual people who have specific and interesting lifestyles.

4. Conversation:  A series of pavilion analytical conversations among cultural experts, artists, sociologists and other specialists with the goal to raise awareness in general about issues affecting different public spheres.

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MediaLab

Armenia’s current art schools (colleges, fine arts institutes, universities, etc.) teach exclusively the traditional means of art with soviet methodology. This is due to lack of technical basis and specialized literature and partly because of the negative attitude towards new technologies. In 2008, Utopiana.am NGO initiated the Media Lab half-yearly educational program, which has at its core the importance of filling this gap.

The research, discussion and experimental process around contemporary art practices carried out within the framework of Media Lab aims at contributing to the students’ acquisition of technical/theoretical knowledge and artistic experience as well as the formation of their individual artistic handwriting and speech and a critical attitude towards technology.

The program consists of a series of workshops which  teach the participants about:

  •  history and theory of photography
  • creative writing
  • traditional and contemporary technologies of photography
  • film composition skills
  • photograms, collage and double lighting
  • digital photo developing and editing tools
  • camera operator skills
  • script preparation and creation
  • video editing software and theory
  • creation and presentation of artistic projects

The participants obtain specialized literature and video materials from Utopiana.am’s library and other necessary tools from its technical laboratory. They can also familiarize themselves with the local and global contexts of art and meet with local and foreign artists, photographers, camera operators, critics and curators.

For previous Media Lab activities, please check the links below:
http://utopiana.am/category/medialab/

 

 

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Spaces This project is funded by the European Union through the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme

What is SPACES?

The project SPACES – Sustainable Public Areas for Culture in Eastern Countries –promotes artistic and cultural activity in public spaces and the recuperation of public spaces for art, culture and the needs of citizens. Participatory art events are curated and carried out within the project in the public spaces of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The in situ events are accompanied by networking activities, social research and public debates.

Core questions: How can the artists and cultural actors in these countries find new audiences and new places for artistic expression? How can art and cultural NGOs obtain a more favorable position when it comes to negotiating with governmental agencies? What are the desirable processes of change?

A better understanding of public spaces in post communist cities, a stronger lobby for the independent platforms, new concepts for cultural governance in the region: these are some of the SPACES expected results.

The three-year project (2011-2014) is funded by the European Commission via the “Eastern Partnership Culture Programme (www.euroeastculture.eu)

Key target groups: Artists, cultural workers, civil society groups (especially youth and marginalised groups), experts, including architects specialized in  public space and urban design, researchers and students (cultural policy, urban studies, contemporary art), local authorities (city councils, etc.), governmental art institutions (national museums, theatres, etc.), policy- makers and decision- makers.

Activity clusters
– The SPACES Caravan: Every 6 months, SPACES will organize a caravan, each time at another partner country, combining theoretical debate, practical in situ art events and participatory approaches. General knowledge will grow from meeting to meeting, the in situ art events in public spaces will serve as testing grounds.

– Mapping: “art and cultural maps” of selected neighborhoods or particular spaces in towns which could be interesting for art and cultural events (underground passages, vacant industrial spaces, temporarily abandoned buildings or spaces, etc).

– Social Research: a qualitative social research and assessment will accompany the art events carried out during the project to find out, on the one hand, how they could be realized, and, on the other hand, how they were able to integrate the public and  influence the urban life.

– Virtual spaces/Pool of knowledge/ Documentation of good practices: the virtual space will accompany the activities in the physical space  to make room for pilot activities. This virtual space will  document  artistic activities in public spaces and will make recommendations on how to co-exist with restrictions. Throughout the region, it will serve as an “exchange academy” and communicate the results and experiences of SPACES to other artistic groups and individuals in the region.

– School of Missing Studies: Workshops on different topics (for example NGO and art management, trainings for mapping, expert exchange)
– Documentary  “SPACES”: this documentary will start filling the gap regarding art, culture and progressive movements in the region.

See related projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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