this text is an outcome of working in frame of tbilisi insights’ project in yerevan from march 22 to april 5, 2015…
vova the elephant ran away from yerevan zoo and was then hunted down and eventually killed by a tank on the streets of yerevan. while the grief over vova became part of something called collective memory it seems to me the tanks, standing against spontaneous and unpredictable interventions (confronting oppression and suffering), form a more accurate present embodiment of how to (not) approach and interact on yerevan’s streets.
it is not the tanks as a more or less symbolic representation of state power that i am talking about but the tanks as us opposing the other who we might encounter on the streets. cause, who the fuck are we fooling? it is us against the state out there? seriously?
no, our self constructed bubbles are being challenged by this other! that other being another because of whatever other fuccking reason – pick any from the multiple choices, from multiculturalism to racism/facism – but in any case this construct of the other haunts not only our public appearance (as hopefully (not) being recognized as another) but also all discourses – of art in public spaces, participatory art practices, collective practices, etc..
it haunts us not because of ethics, as so often claimed, but because of us neither being able nor willing to be another in the sense of finally being a subject. we cling to our group categorization and propose the other to be ‘them’ – another other, not defined at all apart by the immense distance we put in between us.
it is therefore less the city as a constructed, reconstructed and taken-over unity, less yerevan into the streets of which viva broke free to be smashed deadly. it is us who constantly construct an otherness as to get rid of any responsibility. we can indulge in careful interventions and ethical parameters – us and the audience, us and the participants, us and the other.
but in the end. what the fuck are we doing? and who the fuck are we talking about?
we are not even scared of that other. we use the other as nothing more than a template to hide that we are scared of one another, terrified by ourselves.
so, what the fucck is to be done? think about us? talk about us? not us as artists and intellectuals. us as people despite all differences united by not living up to, not taking up us becoming the subjects we have to become as to confront the issues really at stake. the other can wait.