Stone Dreams (installation)
Video: Stone Dreams at the Komitas Museum-Institute, October 15, 2021
Interactive Sound Installation
Premiere: October 15, 2021 - Komitas Museum-Institute, Yerevan, Armenia
“I can love a place I have never seen, a place that no longer exists, whose inhabitants have been killed.”
—William Saroyan, “The Armenian & the Armenian”
“What was the reason, my God, that in Aylis, long-forgotten by you, your hills and your stones had come alive again?”
—Akram Aylisli, Stone Dreams
How is memory preserved when physical sites of memory are destroyed? When collective memory is separated from a place, how can it be revived in a new context? This stone acts as an instrument which brings forth fragments of Armenian folk songs collected by Mihran Toumajan in the United States in the 1930s. This act of remembering is an active response in the face of a century of imposed forgetting.
The installation includes recordings of four songs collected by folklorist Mihran Toumajan as part of his effort to preserve the remnants of oral literature surviving in the Armenian diaspora post-genocide. They are: “Orim, orim” (collected in New York 1930-35) sung by Hasmik Harutyunyan, “Es kisher Hampartsum e” (collected in New York 1930-35) sung by Koriun Davtyan, “Nenni usim kntsnim” (collected in New York 1930-35) sung by Anush Stepanyan, and “Esor don e Surp dznntyan” (collected in Boston 1936) sung by Anush Harutyunyan.