Sayat Nova

Live intervention on the film Sayat Nova of Sergei Parajanov
Sayat Nova is a project created by the Mexican artist Cristina Maldonado (choreographer provoked by video and film) in which she recycles films to create visual collages in real time. It is a video performance that reinterprets films by making live physical interventions to invade and damage the composition, atmosphere and situation of the scenes.
Watching a film usually puts us in a receptive but passive role: we follow the plot of the movie and are open to it, but our feelings, reactions and interpretations cannot change the film in any concrete way. The subconscious reactions of the viewer remain invisible and alienated to the film unless an active witness can materialize them and invade the film with symbolic actions changing the movie physically, affecting what is seen in the frame of the action, resisting, agreeing and commenting the situations and bringing another layer of interpretation into the story.
During the residency of AKOS, nonprofit organization that operates in Yerevan Armenia, the three artists met and worked out the first draft of this movie. It was performed in NPAK the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art.
This project is the result of a multicultural influence generated years ago. The three artists have a specific connection and interest in Armenian culture and have been or lived there.
In 2014 they gathered at an artist residency at Theater Divadlo Konvikt in Olomouc and developed the performance further on. It had been shown in Olomouc, Prague and Münster.
“Some years ago I found a pirate copy of Sergei Parajanov’s film Sayat Nova. Regardless the enormous gap of time, space and culture, I suffered an unexplainable attraction to it and was captivated by the power of its form. I was pulled into Armenia by this film, with an expectation of understanding more its context and learning why I felt such a familiarity with it. This expectation was never met. Nevertheless I sustain that Parajanov’s Sayat Nova is giving me some important answers that I cannot formulate in words, neither thoughts nor content, but that I can certainly understand with the body. Accordingly, I decided to confirm this phenomenon by using the language of gesture, composition and intention to establish a visual dialogue.
Sayat Nova has a symbolic nature that compresses multilayered meanings, and thus invites me to explore the possibility of freeing these symbols from its cultural and ideological load, in an act of faith in the pure form; trusting that gestures, rhythms and compositions can also be meaningful when meaningless”
. Cristina Maldonado

Video: Cristina Maldonado
Voice: Laureline Koenig
Live-Electronic: Marcus Beuter
Production: Jedefrau Org