Previous events

Click on poster for more photos


Click on poster for more photos


Click on poster for more photos

Barekendan is an old Armenian traditional festival that we are seeking to revive as a form of civil action by calling upon the citizens to “wake up” and become involved in social processes in Armenia. In particular, this holiday is an occasion in which traditional norms and routines are rejected and reversed. People wear masks, costumes and participate in games, performances and jokes as a way of truly expressing their opinions. In other words, it is an occasion in which people are urged not to be passive and instead alert. As Lent begins the day after Barekendan, it is the final call for people to be uninhibited in their actions prior to the start of a period of fasting.
Seeing as how the Parliamentary elections of 2007 are critical for the democratization processes in Armenia, Barekendan serves as an ideal occasion for the civil society activists to call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved. We are seeking to accomplish this goal by organizing a parade and day of festivities on February 18, 2007. On this day, we plan on dressing in costumes, offering face painting, passing out sweets and candies among other treats.

On March 4th Sksela organized a "Half-farce/Half-serious" public exhibition. The goal of this event was to transform the park surrounding Komitas’ statue near the Opera into an enclosed environment, which contained many opportunities to provoke thought. The circle was physically divided in to two sections: one half represented things satirical and comedic, while the other half presented facts about Armenia’s reality today.
For example, on the “serious” side an exhibition of photojournalistic photos of Armenia was set up, while on the “silly” side blank pages were put up with markers- allowing participants to write whatever they wanted. On the “serious” side an information booth was set up where publications and information packets from reputable NGOs and IOs were distributed, while on the “silly” side a storyteller read from a book of Armenian fairy tales. On the “serious” side a large exhibition of critical recent news articles was set up, while on the “silly” side satirical headlines were exhibited. On the “serious side” colored signs boldly declared positive civic values (“honesty” “integrity” “hard work” “education” “responsibility”) while the “silly” side hosted artificial values (“materialism”, “cheating”). All the while, alternative and progressive music with messages of action echoed through the entire area.


The purpose of the Flash-Mob was straightforward enough. Standing at the corner of each intersection leading into the roundabout opposite Yerevan's Opera House, as well as circling the grassy area in its center, each participant stood with a newspaper reading separate articles of their choice out aloud. Also wearing hats made out of newspapers, the sight and sound of that alone was surreal and unexpected enough for Armenia even in this day and age.

Under banners that asked “Shall We Read?” the event was aimed at encouraging the population to read newspapers. With all of the television stations under direct or indirect government control, the only plurality of opinion and diversity of information can be found in the print media.

Even so, newspaper circulation remains low with actual readership even lower, and even the most popular of papers can publish only a few thousand copies each day. Nevertheless, if the purpose of the event was to get people to take interest in the press, then the flash mob achieved its goal. Cars and public transport passing by stopped to take copies of the newspapers participants were handing out until the police asked the organizers to stop in case traffic was disrupted.


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