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Beginnings of Europe

Beginnings of Europe #Armenia

The project Beginnings of Europe conceived by Constanze Müller Eriz Moreno  Aranguren. It is an editorial project of creating publications in political ‘borders’ of Europe. The working process is to cooperate with local artists, scholars, activists and designers on re-thinking and picturing the identity and cultural constructions of each country/region. The project follows the political and cultural concept of Europe.

The result of the working process in each country will be a publication, which is going to be presented and distributed in the country itself and everywhere in Europe (book shops, art institutions...), and in exhibitions.

The publication project starts with Armenia. After Armenia, the project aims to follow realizing publications in further countries or regions like North Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta, Svalbard or Transnistria.  The working process in Armenia is a cooperation of local contemporary artists and intellectuals.

At the same time the project offers a participative discursive platform and ways of expression.

The approach is not to set a foreign view to the country, but to create an inner, local perspective, that gives a stronger and realistic impact of the country and its life conditions.


The project initiated and promoted in the frame of the Art Commune AIR Program and its In-LAB Platform [Theory and Practice] have been organized by ACSL.

The Platform In-LAB [Theory and Practice] is an initiative of the Art and Cultural Studies laboratory. It is an open platform which, along with other interests, is oriented towards the social turn in contemporary art practices and has been sharing the set of desires to overturn the traditional relationship between the art object, the artist, and the audience. This kind of art testifies that artists are conceived not only as individual producers of discrete objects, but as producers of situations, co-participations, and collaborations. Being also part of the Art Commune AIR Program, the Platform In-LAB welcomes artists who are willing get engaged in collaboration and collective work in studio and post- studio practices like socially engaged art, dialog art, participatory art, contextual art, etc.


Constanze Muller  is a curator and co-founder of the art association D21 Kunstraum Leipzig e.V.. She graduated the College of Graphic design at School of Arts, Technics and Construction and later held Mastership at University of Leipzig, Department of Pedagogics: Art and German.

She went through the practice of internship in the Center of Contemporary Art „Łaźnia”, Gdansk (PL) and combine her curatorial practice with teaching Art in Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff-Gymnasium, Chemnitz.


Eriz Moreno is a visual artist from Bilbao. He accomplished his thesis of master of Fine Arts at the University of La Laguna. The recent years of his activities were busy with realizing site specific ‘investigations’/ projects in Macau, Athens, London, USA, Germany and Poland and in various places in Spain combined with meticulous research of symbolical and geo-political meaning of site-scape. Moreno’s projects were also introduced publicly in form of solo shows in Spain, Germany, USA and Poland.


The emerging identity and cultural conflicts of Armenia are hardly grown because of the country’s historical, political and social transformations nowadays: Closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, a large Armenian population and culture living in the diaspora (with large Armenian communities especially in the United States and Russia), which influences the country economically and culturally, and the society’s search for new values as a post-soviet state.  The project’s process local artists and intellectuals of different age generations are invited. The workshops, moderated by the mediator Constanze Müller, will work with initiative, discursive and reflexive interview methods, where the participants were asked about their own culture, their own self-image as a human, citizen and artist, about their positioning of “identity” and the definition of the own and the alter. The process of this discussion leads to artistic practices of the participating artists and offers to continue this process of thinking and reflecting.

In Armenia the questioning focuses in the terms of the current cultural, political and social situation due to historical and current developments in the society. All participants are asked to enrich the workshop’s discussions with personal inputs of references and cultural artefacts like texts, pictures, books as well as their own artistic working way. The workshops will follow a line of topics, which will focuses the discussions:

1. Cultural references (Questioning the European, Russian, Armenian, Persian influence)

2. Presence of history nowadays

3. Diaspora (Influences and consequences)

4. Politics (Questioning Armenian`s movement to Europe or Russia)

The mediator doesn’t try to set a view from the outside, but follows a question attitude. This attitude approaches and accepts the issues of the inner perspectives of the participating artists. Despite of this the mediator won’t insist to find a conclusion of the discussing process with all participants but to keep a diversity of perspectives to all issues. The mediator’s attitude follows an individual. group-following way, that domains the participation of all artist as well as a sort leadership to arrive to a reflective process of debate.

After or beside of the workshops the project offers to the artists the possibility of creating artworks from this reflective debate, which are going to be exhibited in the magazine as well as in the exhibition. The publication will also show the discussions of the workshops as a panorama of these issues and the references, which the participants will announce. The publication will be designed by a local designer and includes artworks of the participating artists as well as reflexive text material on the initiated process.  The exhibition will show the process of the workshops in textual, audio-visual material as a documentation of this participative project.

The magazine concludes the discursive process in an artistic approach and will present a current reflection of Armenian’s situation by the perspective of Armenian contemporary artists. The concept of the magazine will follow the idea of a platform as a format to give a “space” of discourse, reflection and expression with the tools of art.

For further information and contact:

Constanze Müller: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Mischa Badasyan (Berlin/Gemany) in collaboration with

Vardan Harutyunyan (Yerevan/Armenia)

Live Performance

Organized by ACSL in the frame of the Art Expo-2013 International Festival of Arts from countries of CIS

September 20, 2013, Gyumri Armenia


The live performance “Blow -Blew – Blown” is part of the In-LAB Platform: [Theory and Practice] organized by ACSL in the frame of Art Commune AIR program and ACSL’s activities. In-LAB is an open discussion and discursive platform where social, political, and cultural processes taking place in and outside of Armenia are being displayed and discussed, carrying out talks, public readings, workshops, lectures, analysis of current artistic projects and exhibitions, as well as communication and cooperation with non-artistic communities and activists.

Performance investigates the line of contact(s)  between two people putting the questions about the borders of  the relationship between them. How could they change in the transition of the care to idea of the power, from tenderness to violence from freedom to suppression?

Two solitudes  – one disappointment, Two first words – one sentence, Two bodies  - one organism, Two forgotten destinies – one hope, Two turns – one circle, Two kisses – one love, Two hands –one handshake, Two legs – one heat, Two wings – one bird, Two dreams – one life.


MISCHA BADASYAN is a Performance and Video artist based in Berlin, Germany. He was born on February 25th 1988 in Rostov on Don, Russia. His father is a Georgian born Armenian and his mother is Armenian. His ancestors on his Mother’s side moved to Russia in 1779 and built an Armenian city in Rostov, which is still part of that city .Mischa studied Political Science at Rostov´s South University and have been working in social, human rights, LGBT and environmental protecting organizations. It has made a huge impact on him and his artwork.

In 2008, he moved to Germany and eventually began studying social work in Dresden while staying active in social/AIDS/LGBT organizations. In April 2011, Mischa moved to the UK for his studies and during this time, he visited Manchester’s International Festival.

"I saw a performance by Marina Abromovic and a concert by Bjork and they both inspired me to pursue Live art performances. I consider my work live art because I strongly believe that the art exists only through our life experiences.  Art, to me, is about energy. It exists only as an exchange of the energy. While performing live, I am able to feel the energy from my audience. Through interacting with my audience, they not only become part of my artwork, but also, their energy impacts my performance. This creates spontaneous works of art that is constantly changing and moving."

VARDAN HARUTYUNYAN (b. 1987, Yerevan) is a composer and pianist with interest to create sound art installations and filed recordings, thus he was severally involved in collaboration with visual artists from the field of contemporary art. In 2009 he graduated from the Yerevan Sate Conservatory after Komitas (composition class)  and  has been working in the field of academic, electronic and electro-acoustic music.

ART AND CULTURAL STUDIES LABORATORY (ACSL) is a non-governmental organization with the aim of establishing a stable platform for critical analysis, reflections, open discussions, information exchange and interactive communication, which would contribute to the development, promotion and analysis  of contemporary art processes/practices by setting up exhibitions, discursive events, and educational programs. ACSL promotes the development of Armenia as a zone of cultural dialogue and meeting place with its current situation as a post-Soviet country and its contextual and ideological issues.


It’s LIQUID International Contest 3rd edition

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Yerevan-Milan-Florence Turin, Venice

April 3rd – May 27th 2013

Karen Andreasyan, Sabina Grasso, Armine Hovhannisyan, Angela Zurlo

Curated by Susanna Gyulamiryan and Aria Spinelli

Promoted by FARE Cultura Contemporanea Applicata, Milan Italy In collaboration with Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (ACSL), Yerevan Armenia

Taking Positions: Identity Questioning is an artistic research project on the social functionality of artistic practices and the construction of subjective cultural identities. The projects is curated by Susanna Gyulamiryan and Aria Spinelli and promoted by FARE (Milan, Italy) and Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory - ACSL (Yerevan). Thought for experimenting the art residency format and deepening the significance of cultural exchanges through the shared experience of questioning, the project is part of the larger framework of, that promotes and supports International Exchange, developed in collaboration with Open Care and with the support of Fondazione Cariplo, NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano (Dipartimento di Arti Visive) e GAI - Associazione Circuito Giovani Artisti Italiani.

Taking Positions: Identity Questioning is initiated through the hypothesis that both the Armenian and Italian context are living through a similar cultural paradox: a rapid advancement contrasted by a traditional society, mixed with a lack of infrastructure capable of supporting the artistic class. In times of social disorder and political uncertainty, the social position of the artist is often based on a set of values that are not shared collectively. Within this curatorial structure which is thought mainly to create situations in which reciprocal learning processes should flourish, thanks to hospitality and collaboration, the artists involved are invited to spend time in each-others' countries and try adsorb as much information and stimulus they can in order to develop art works base on these guidelines.

The development of the research in Yerevan and Milan will therefore use the notion of the paradox in order to describe a contemporary way of living. The concept of storytelling is thus seen here not only as a reference, but also as methodology, declined in diverse forms, such as the transmission of information (who do we communicate to, and how?) and the individual or collective thinking processes (can we create communal space of shared knowledge?). The curators Susanna Gyulamiryan and Aria Spinelli created an open research platform which will critically reflect on the Armenian and Italian contemporary art scenes by deepening these issue through artistic research, collective discussions, tours, exhibition praxis and theoretical production, involving institutions, non for profit, independent and educational spaces in Yerevan, Milan, Florence, Turin, Venice such as MekhitarSebastatsi Educational Complex, Department of Fine Art, Armenian Open University (Yerevan), NABA (Milan), Mesopotomia (Milan), DOCVA (Milan) Isola Art Center (Milan), Wulkos (Venice), IL VIVAIO DEL MALCANTONE, F_AIR,GuilmiArtProject (Florence), Kaninchen-Haus (Turin).

Italian artists Sabina Grasso and Angela Zurlo and curator Aria Spinelli spent researching and projects implementing ime in Yerevan at the “Art Commune” International Artist-in-Residence cluster organized by Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (ACSL). Armenian artistsArmineHovhannisyan, Karen Andreasian and curator Susanna Gyulamiryanhad an artistic reciprocity in Turin, Florence, Venice and Milan-FARE (Open Care Residency facilities). Given the complexity of the Italian context, the group also travelled to other residencies in Italy, where they have been hosted and attended various activities.

The final show was organized in Milan at the Frigoriferi Milanesi art center and exhibition space, where the artists re-enacted the period of research undertaken. A final publication documented the whole process and the theoretical conclusions by the curators. is a network of national residency programs. The network intends to facilitate artistic mobility through RESIDENZAITALIA, a unique program that supports artist and curators permanency within national residency programs. FARE also sustains the artist residencies by implementing their cultural activities through collaboration and support of the work of international and national artist and curators.

FARE is a non-profit cultural association based in Milan. It works in the field of contemporary art, extended also to the cross culture of the contemporary. Consulting services for private entities have been carried on together with complex or collaborative projects with other associations and cultural organizations of Milan beyond "public" projects as the articulation and management of national and international networks for training and residencies for artists and curators. The focus of FARE is to carefully pay attention to the needs of the cultural system and its operators: what is missing, what has to be done, what people would like.

ACSL is a non-governmental organization with the aim of establishing a stable platform for critical analysis, reflections, open discussions, information exchange, and interactive communication, thus contributing to the development of contemporary art practices. ACSL organizes and develops exhibitions, discursive events with promoting unique theoretical research and educational programs. ACSL promotes the development of Armenia as a zone of cultural dialogue and meeting place, with its current situation as a post-Soviet country and the contained contextual and ideological issues. In 2008, ACSL established the “Art Commune” International Artist-in-Residence program. “Art Commune” is a general member of the Res Artis worldwide network of artist residencies.

Karen Andreasyan is a Yerevan-based artist. His exhibitions and projects include: Absence/Presence, Yerevan, 1993; the Venice Biennial, Armenian pavilion, 1995; the Geo-Kunst Expedition within the framework of Documenta X, in 1997; ‘(his)tory’‚ Salzburg Kunstverein, Austria 2002; and Adieu Parajanov, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria 2003; Since 2003 he has been working on a long-term network project, Voghchaberd, which was presented at the Centre for the Contemporary Image, Geneva, 2004 and XV Biennale de Paris, 2006, and is in the Fondsrégionaux d’art contemporain collection, France. His Ontological Walkscapes is an ongoing project, part of which was presented at the 11th International Istanbul Biennial, 2009. Its present Blind Dates installment, entitled 960, is the artist’s debut in New York.

Sabina Grasso is a Milan-based artist. Her works are principally concerned with the representation of people and the places in which they dwell. She is also interested in the city as a kind of dramatic stage where social conditions of strata’s living levels are connected with current politics of ruling system with all hierarchical subordination in the social body. Photography, video, collage and performances are her most used media. Her works were shown in different venues including FrigoriferiMilanesi, Milan 2013; Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; MAGASIN Centre National d’ArtContemporain, Grenoble, France; FondazioneBevilacqua la Masa, Venezia, Italy; Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea, Trento, Italy.

Susanna Gyulamiryan (Yerevan, Armenia) is an art critic and curator, who have been working in Armenia and internationally. Her current fields of interest include the epistemological, philosophical issue of the other, examination of biopolitics, gender and feminist issues in contemporary art practices, and the issue of “East-West” with mapping and researches on “imaginative geographies”.In 2007, she collaboratively founded the “Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory” (ACSL), where she is the appointed president. In 2008, she was an initiator of founding the “Art Commune” International Artist-in-Residence program in Armenia. Since 2006, she is a board member of AICA – Armenia (International Association of Art Critics).More than ten years, Susanna Gyulamiryan has held courses in Cultural Studies at the Armenian Open University, Department of Fine Arts (International Academy of Education). She is an associated nominator of the International Biennial Prize Council for outstanding achievements in Art and Politics by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School (New-York) in 2013, and nominator of the Price Council for the Annual award for a best art critical essay launched by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia.

ArmineHovhannisyan (b.1983) lives and works in Yerevan, Armenia ArmineHovhannisyan has graduated from Armenian Open University, Department of Fine Arts in 2004. Since 2003 she has taken part in various local and international exhibitions, symposiums and workshops. Some of the crucial participations include Society, Body, Art VII Annual Festival of Alterative Art-Yerevan at ACCEA(2005);Gender Trouble. Platforms exhibition and series of seminars organized by ACSL (2008, 2009, curator: S.Gyulamiryan), Gyumri International Biennales of Art (2004-2008), Soviet AgitArt. Restoration exhibition with S.Baghdasaryan at BM SUMA, the Contemporary Art Center in Istanbul (2008, curator: B.Madra), and Manufacture, a residency project in Istanbul organized by Bilgi University (2007), Urban dreams residency-exhibition, in the scope of HEICO project (2011, Art Today Association, Bulgaria and Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory, Armenia),Havavproject organized by Fethiye Cetin and Hrant Dink Foundation, Istanbul, Havav, Turkey (2011) and The journey to the Eastexhibition in Bialystok, MOCAK, Warsaw, Poland (2011, curator: M. Szewczyk).

Aria Spinelli (New York, 1981) is an independent curator who currently conducting a Practiced-based Phd at Loughborough University on the relationship between art and activism. She holds a BA in Contemporary Art History from La Sapienza University of Rome and a MA in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies from NABA – New Academy of Fine Arts (Milan, Italy). She is cofounder of collective Radical Intention, which seeks to challenge the boundaries of art presentation and implement the discourse around contemporary art production and distribution. As a curator she has been involved in long-term collaborations with Isola Art Center in Milan and CHAN - Contemporary Art Association in Genoa. She also conducted curatorial residencies at Incheon Art Platform (Incheon, South Korea) Gwangju Biennale Foundation (Gwangju, South Korea); Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory (Yerevan, Armenia), MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art (Barcelona, Spain).

Angela Zurlo (1982, Troia (FG) Italy) lives and works in Rome. Her research investigates issues that deal with female and infantile aspects of complex societies, through the reinterpretation of old textiles and sewing techniques. She has a BA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna (2006) and an MA from the Academy of Arts in Rome (2009). She conducted research for over a year at the Universitad de Belles Artes in Bilbao, Spain. She participated in Default masterclass residency program organizedby Random (Lecce). She participated in festivals and collective projects such as Nuovagestione, Rome (2012), Linea35 Festival (2011), Mettiuna sera in Barona curated by Connecting Cultures, Milan (2011).
Recent shows: Taking Position: Identity Questioning, Frigoriferi Milanesi, Milan 2013; Ortica, Organic theme in contempoary Art, Macro Testaccio, Rome 2013; Cartabianca_roma, Museo di Arte contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genoa; Ouverture, Museo Fondazione Pino Pascali, Bari 2012; Trame. Omaggio a Louise Bourgeois, Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea, Rome 2011, My favourite things, Galleria Contemporaneo di Mestre, Venice 2010




Visitor Program for Art Professionals (The Netherlands)


February 27- March 5, 2013

President of ACSL Susanna Gyulamiryan was invited as a curator and representative of ACSL to be part of the Visitor Program for Art Professionals organized and promoted by the Mondrian Foundation (The Netherlands).

Visited Institutions
: Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Rijkakademie van Bildende Kunsten (Amsterdam), Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), De Appel (Amsterdam), Symposium Wander Wonders #1 (The Hague), BAK (Utrecht), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Tent (Rotterdam), Dutch Art Institute (Arnhem), Exhibition and Discussion “Female Power: Matriarchy, Sprituality and Utopia” at the Museum of the Modern Art (Arnhem).

Visited Artists: Katarina Zdjelar, Kristina Benjocki, Melanie Bonajo, Aimee Zito Lema, artists/participants of the exhibition “Female Power. Matriarchy, Spirituality & Utopia” organized by the Museum of Modern Art (Arnhem) and artists-in-residency at the Rijkakademie van Bildende Kunsten (Amsterdam).



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