Strategies of (Un)Silencing Conference in Yerevan-Armenia

Strategies of (Un)Silencing

Conference in Yerevan-Armenia
Date: Friday and Saturday October 26th and 27th, 2012
Venue: American University of Armenia, Alex and Marie Manoogian Hall

Strategies of (Un) Silencing (SoUS) is an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural conference that seeks to explore the intersections among artistic practice, literature, and ethics/law. By extending a platform for subjectivities, real or imagined, that do not fit neatly into existing taxonomies of nation-states and other mainstream institutional configurations, we hope to identify over-arching themes that have been marginalized across time and place. Striving to better understand the complexities of the current Armenian/Turkish divides, the gathering wishes to attract new research from international voices. The aim is to loosen the knots of repressed memories, silenced (hi)stories, and unresolved sentiments/perceptions associated with dominant narratives that are sustained by oppositional paradigms (such as  Inside/Outside, Us/Them, We/I, Private/Public etc.).  As continuation of a series of discussions that began in context of a New York based curatorial undertaking entitled Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire (please see below), the conference will examine what ‘remains’ of the human geography that once constituted the vast territory of the Ottoman Empire, while also inviting comparisons/contrasts in tackling the ‘residues’ of similar or parallel ruptures, including those involving the Soviet regime and the Cold War. Topics of interest include: border, migration, labor, economy, ecology, religion, nationalism, violence, human rights, knowledge production, artistic systems, language, translation, media, new technologies, secrecy, democracy, freedom, gender, family, friendship, sexuality, love etc. In summary, new discursive cartographies based on shared affinities among the incongruent or the fragmented are welcome, as well as accounts of unities that do not resort to uniformity.   

The Conference is conceived and organized by Neery Melkonian, Independent Art Critic/Curator and External Director of Blind Dates Project, with co-moderators Siranush Dvoyan, Literature Professor, Yerevan State University and Vahan Bournazian, Human Rights Advocate, Educator, and Attorney, and art critic/curator Erden Kosova as advisor.

Abstracts: Up to 300 words, with short bios, are due by August 28, 2012

We welcome submissions from ALL disciplines, please submit via E-mail:

–       Selections, with program will be announced by September 5, 2012

–       Full texts, of up to 30 minute presentations, are due by October 8, 2012.

–       Presentations will be published on-line following the conference.

Lodging and participation/publication fee will be extended to all presenters. Support letters to international travelers/participants who wish to seek external funding can be provided upon request.  SoUS is made possible by a grant from Open Society Foundations-Armenia with contributions by Blind Dates Project patrons from the United States, where the project is fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts.


About Blind Dates Project:

Conceived by Co-curators Neery Melkonian and Defne Ayas the New York installment of the Blind Dates Project involved thirteen newly produced research-based artistic collaborations that opened at Pratt Manhattan Gallery in November of 2010. By instigating encounters among the perceived others of the post Ottoman geography ‘match-made’ artists were asked to explore the lingering effects of that historical rupture on life today. To inform the curatorial process, which began to develop in fall 2005, a series of informal conversations were hosted by friends of the project that formed the basis of thematically organized public discussions at various venues internationally.  Co-produced with Pratt, the project brought together artists and other practitioners from Armenia, Bosnia, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey with their transnational/diasporic counterparts in Europe and the United States. At the heart of the Pratt exhibition one could find attachments to images, voices, and histories that collide with existing taxonomies of nation-states, art histories, and identities. On view were a cluster of sensibilities that nest at the verge of remembering and forgetting, truth and fiction, real and imaginary.

Yerevan<>Istanbul Editions

Intended to migrate to other destinations, the next installment of the Blind Dates exhibition is projected to open during the summer of 2013 in Yerevan and Istanbul (pending funding). In order to better understand the complexities at hand, these reformulated editions will ‘unpack’ regional concerns as proposed by an expanded exhibition team who in turn will pair additional Blind Dates artistic couples.

Related Links:

Pratt Manhattan Gallery
Hetq Online

Blind Dates Project:
550 Grand Street # J-5D
New York, NY 10002


201-679-6940 New York
098-279-356 Yerevan


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