Armine, Sister is dedicated to Armenian history and culture and to the Armenian genocide.
Originally, the piece was intended as a séance in which it is not us calling the departed, but the spirits of the dead calling to have a trace of the past revealed, made visible, unearthed. The title, Armine, Sister, recalls the first two words of a letter with no clear address, which is doomed to drift around in time and space.
In light of the post-Auschwitz future that Theodor W. Adorno envisaged for poetry, art and education, we would like to ask: “Is there a chance that the 21st century will not become the century of ignorance?” In our new piece we ask about Europe, convinced that Europe is a question – one about history, identity, dignity. One of the main ideas of Armine, Sister is to tackle the issue of historic taboos and lies as opposed to a duty to witness.
When working on the performance, we often invoked Paul Celan’s Death Fugue, in which the dreams of the murderers and victims are dreamt in the same space. The space of the performance/séance of memory, like the space of a dream, is co-inhabited by thousands of beings. Armine, Sister touches on how painful the memory-carrying process can be. It is also an attempt to identify/name our place in relation to past generations, and to understand who we are – we, who always stand on the other side of memory like on the other side of the camera. We gaze at history through a peephole, seeing only a trace, a shadow, a thought.
Performers: Ditte Berkeley, Przemysław Błaszczak, Alessandro Curti, Jarosław Fret, Murat Iclinalca, Dengbesz Kazo, Aram Kerovpyan, Vahan Kerovpyan, Kamila Klamut, Aleksandra Kotecka, Simona Sala, Orest Sharak, Mahsa Vahdat, Marjan Vahdat, Tomasz Wierzbowski
Vocal collaboration: Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan
For our new project, Armine, Sister, we decided to explore Anatolian monodic traditions, based on the group’s vocal competence built for over ten years, resulting from our experience performing polyphonic songs. The project includes musicians from various music traditions of Asia Minor, Anatolia and Iran, whom we met on our expeditions: the Wan-born Kurdish singer Dengbej Kazo; Murat Iclinalca, the master singer at St Gregory the Illuminator Church in Istanbul; the Teheran-born sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat; and Vahan Kerovpyan, a composer and drummer born to an Armenian family in Paris. We also collaborate with the singer Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan and the Istanbul-based singer and drummer Selda Ozturk. Our main collaborator on Armine, Sister is Aram Kerovpyan, the Istanbul-born master singer of the Armenian Cathedral in Paris.