August 26, 2016 - Dilijan Art Initiative - Launch of the Dilijan Arts Observatory
August 26, 2016

Dilijan Art Initiative

Maria Esayan, Agronomist, Dilijan, Armenia. Photographer and date unknown. Courtesy of Dilijan Centralised Library System.

Launch of the Dilijan Arts Observatory
A cultural archaeology of the history and aesthetic practices of Dilijan, Armenia, culminating in a two day public event
August 22–September 11, 2016

Launch of the Dilijan Arts Observatory
A cultural archaeology of the history and aesthetic practices of Dilijan, Armenia, culminating in a two day public event
August 22–September 11, 2016

The first major international art event organised by the Dilijan Art Initiative in Armenia, the Dilijan Arts Observatory brings together an international group of artists, cultural historians and environmental scientists to Armenia from August 22 to September 11, 2016. The new initiative is supported by philanthropists Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend, founders of the United World College Dilijan, of RVVZ and IDeA charitable foundations, and co-founders of the Dilijan Development Foundation with Gagik Adibekyan, founder of Adibekyan Family Foundation for Advancement.

The Dilijan Arts Observatory has been devised by Dr. Clémentine Deliss, an international curator and anthropologist; Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin, former director of the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt (2010–15), director of the international research lab Future Academy (2002–09), and publisher of Metronome and Metronome Press (1996–2007).

In the ancient spa town and mountain retreat of Dilijan—which once hosted composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten—a group of historians and practitioners will undertake fieldwork in the town, working closely with its citizens and identifying local wisdom and folkways. Fieldwork activities will include investigations into memory and transmission, composition and astronomy; Soviet architecture and design; style, crafts, graphics; culinary knowledge; wilderness, botany and future products for survival. The Observatory will take place in Dilijan and neighbouring villages, and will use “Impuls” the former Soviet electronics factory in Dilijan as its headquarters. A classic example of Soviet industrial architecture, 4000 employees once worked in the Impuls Factory under the order of the Soviet Defence Ministry before it was privatised. 

Dilijan Arts Observatory participants are: Vahram Aghasyan (Armenia), Haig Aivazian (Canada), Alen Amirkhanian (Armenia), Ruben Arevshatyan (Armenia), Erik van Buuren (Netherlands), Katerina Chuchalina (Russia), Vardan Danielyan (Armenia), Mohamad Deeb (Lebanon), Clémentine Deliss (GB), Silvina Der Meguerditchian (Armenia), Arpad Dobriban (Germany), Andrew de Freitas (New Zealand), David Galstyan (Armenia), Vigen Galstyan (Armenia), Natasha Gasparian (Lebanon), Raphaela Grolimund (Switzerland), Angela Harutyunyan (Armenia), Krispin Heé (Switzerland), Misha Hollenbach, Perks and Mini (Austria), Marc Norbert Hörler (Switzerland), Marianna Hovhannisyan (Armenia), Christoph Keller (Germany), Aram Keryan (Armenia), Nairi Khatchadourian (Armenia), Antje Majewski (Germany), Augustin Maurs (France), Ioana Mitrea (Romania), Maria Mkrtycheva (Russia), Mathilde Rosier (Switzerland), Marcello Spada (Italy), Pascal Storz (Switzerland), Shauna Toohey, Perks and Mini (Austria), Joanna Sokolowska (Poland), Hasmik Ter-Voskanian (Armenia), Vangjush Vellahu (Albania), Jasmine Werner (Germany), Asya Yaghmurian (Armenia), Nork Zakarian (Egypt).

On September 10 and 11, 2016, a two-day public event will be held in Dilijan, presenting the results of the Observatory’s research with a series of events, including an all-night symphony, forest kitchens and culinary festivities, performances and exhibitions, as well as an international round-table debate on life practices and the arts. 

The outcome of the Dilijan Arts Observatory will feature in exhibitions at the leading national art museums in Europe: the National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, in November 2017, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris in summer 2018.

Clémentine Deliss, Curator of the Dilijan Arts Observatory, says: 
"I’m delighted to part of this project. In 2009, when I first came to Armenia to meet artists and activists, I valued their radical position. It’s really important that so many of these leading artists and researchers are now taking part in the Dilijan Arts Observatory. I hope that our dialogue will produce new models and prototypes for the future."


For further information, or media enquiries, please contact:
Victoria Mitchell
victoria [​at​] / T +44(0)7595 217 616

Dilijan Art Initiative
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