violet against women

About Me

This is an artwork in progress. This durational, site-specific project explores and documents my studio practice, professional and family lives, and the myriad interdisciplinary and cultural sources that influence and define my identity as an artist, curator, and mother. I’ll share other artworks in progress, artist interviews, found youtube videos, and other web miscellany that, using humor and theatricality, confront traditional, cultural expectations of women.

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    Ashton Kutcher vs. Wal-Mart: Epic Twitter clash rages over poverty wages

    I never got the appeal of this dude - but for this, I think he’s awesome. I highly suggest reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed, where she went undercover as a local Wal-mart employee in Minnesota and tried to live off what she was paid. It reads like fiction it’s so easily readable and unbelievable how much Wal-mart gets away with. 

    ASK A SLAVE…

    I am completely enamored of Azie Dungey's webisode series Ask a Slave. Dungey portrays Lizzie Mae, a house slave owned by George Washington at his home, Mount Vernon. The series was inspired by her experience as an actor playing a similar role at a historical plantation. There she encountered the general public’s (mis)understanding of slavery and the African-American experience. Slavery and slaves were mostly documented and written about from a first person perspective of white men. Dungey’s perspective presents history through a female perspective. 

    She uses humor as a mirroring tool, reflecting back at her audience real questions she was asked by tourists visiting the historic site. She’s gotten a lot of flack for attaching humor to the actuality of slavery, disdain from both sides of American history. But it’s not slavery she mocks but the audience who lives privileged and safe enough to ask dumb questions. People are generally too sensitive to discuss issues of race - too often anger and ignorance disarm the discussion before it begins.

    Having produced several episodes already, Dungey has quite a following with nearly 45,000 followers. In an interesting twist, she has smartly paid attention to the comments left below her episodes as they function as a second act. This is theater in the making! 

    Variety TV Critic to Sarah Silverman: Stop With That Mouth of Yours and Start Acting Like a Lady

    Please. Go *@&#%$& yourself. 

    Some Dreams Contain Dead Time - Writing about my own work.

    I originally wrote this in third person, a practice not uncommon for artists supplying statements and bios, or for curators writing about other artists’ work. When I sent it over to UCLA it felt a little douchebaggery in the third person, but I never corrected it for them. Instead I rewrote my little statement from the first position, decidedly less elegant and less glamorous. Regarding the writing about your own work..it’s difficult. It’s the same as creating a visual piece in that you can’t take for granted that anyone understands anything about what you’ve been working on for the last year. Actively describe the work and then tell why it’s relevant. That’s all. 

    (This performance is opening October 7th, 2013, at 8pm at The Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.) 

    In Some Dreams Contain Dead Time, my new video and its accompanying score is influenced by varied sources such as the work of Symbolist painter Odilon Redon, 19th century Spiritualist photography, and Victorian fairy paintings. The score is performed live by concert soprano and interdisciplinary artist Juliana Snapper. A variation of an original composition by Greg Eklund is performed live by cellist Skip Von Kuske. Art historical and autobiographical timelines collude creating a disjunctive narrative that recognizes the porosity of time and dreams.

    In the video, myself and my sister Soseh Kevorkian wander my actual home in hazy, dreamy video sequences of lush images and bold colorations. Transitional spaces like doorways, hallways, and my own past artworks, as well as works by others who influenced my development, glow and change color to emphasize the house’s interior and my own interiorized mind. We haunt the space which holds the burden of memory and desire. Apathy and sedation is implied by fields of poppies, views from within a medicine cabinet, as well as images of the artist asleep. The theme of duality continues with views of mirror reflections; a secondary temporal space. Further, the video’s primary vignette repeats itself mid-video, but in mirror-reflected order. I attempt to skew our sense of time and space with seemingly illogical video edits. In a nod to film theory, and perhaps as with our dreams and desires, dead time refers to scenes that last longer than the audience finds necessary. 

    The accompanying live sound score for the video incorporates vocal participation from the audience to build collective empathy. The audience becomes a compassionate choir. A ghost we can all see is called a collective apparition; a pseudo-scientific term used in contemporary ghost-hunting communities. In this video, a collective apparition is a pain that we can all feel. Ornamental and emotional elements found in opera are drawn from feminized vocal practices like singing trills and expressive emotional crying. Sighs and cries are an ornament of sound. Emotion attaches itself to the aesthetics of femininity in these melodramatic images of myself and my twin wearing long hair, nightgowns, and crystal eyelashes. The score for Some Dreams Contain Dead Time not only provides emotional tones and texture for the video imagery, but the images conversely support the live performers on stage.

    I’ve found resonance between early 20th century industrialization and the present day digital revolution. These two eras experienced photographic advancements during wartime atmospheres, both possessed of a society’s visceral need to combine irrefutable science with the unexplained fantasy worlds of spirits or fairies. However, this video challenges recent trends in contemporary art that which reject emotion as a relevant critical response by asking of the audience to build empathy through this fantastical narrative.

    Audio recordings of helicopters and sirens embedded within the video, heard from my own bedroom window, suggest sounds from a poppy-dependent economy in Afghanistan, or just another Southern Californian evening. The video marks a liminal space between a dream-state and a state of mind, existing within ambiguous temporality.

    Ellina Kevorkian

    September 2013

    End of Summer - Fall Season Begins

    I guess my self-imposed hiatus is over. In the month I’ve been absent, I moved from Los Angeles to Portland, OR. Going to live with some trees for a while. I read this Patti Smith quote where she said don’t bother going to NYC (major art capitals) to make it as an artist, but go to other cities like Detroit, where you can live cheaply and afford yourself the lifestyle of and, the time to make art. 

    With the Fall season here, I’m tearing thru PICA’s (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) TBA Festival here in Portland for the next week and a half. Last night was the opening night party held at The Works, the festival’s day-end gathering spot for artists, audience, and all to socialize and talk over the day’s performances. A really smart programming move. There are live acts during The Works. Last night Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre fame performed with her new band The Julie Ruin. Loud, hot and crowded - the right atmosphere to kick of the festival.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/patti-smith-to-artists-do_n_560794.html

    www.kathleenhanna.com