I step on the stage, onto that singular black space. A constellation of musicians surrounds me: Gor, Art, Varouj, Jay, Ara and Ando. They sing and play. Their sound flows through me: ascending, surging, soaring, echoing. I am in a rarefied space, on that stage, within their sound. All is wood, metal, string and wire but what rises out of that space is ephemeral music. And I think: this is a universe onto itself, in all its crowded molecular density, as well as its airy nothingness. All here. In this moment, the universe exists only here.
And so I photograph. I photograph that which is ethereal, that which is lyrical energy. For nearly a decade, I photograph Gor and his band while they rehearse, perform and record. They make music out of thin air. They create the space, as well the music that is born of that space. I photograph.
Over time, my photographs become a diary of how Gor and his band shape this space: a visual chronicle of their process and a reflection of the dense corporality and weightlessness of what they construct. And over time, this diary evolves and we incorporate those very constructions into it: we digitally link selected songs by Gor, over a similar time span, to my photographs. And, to this expanding journal, we also add fragments from these songs, handwritten by Gor himself.
The diary becomes a collaboration: images of the space and the music arising from that space entwine, fuse and commune on the page. It is an exploratory and fractured diary: composed of fragments of images and music from a life, many lives, across continents, in multiple languages, seen many ways, experienced from myriad angles. Fragments lived in the aftermath of upheaval, earthquake, war and displacement; in moments of love, beauty, and longing.
Images mirror music. Music is a mirror of images. Darkness and light reflected in both. The diary’s very structure is a mirror: the lexicon of the pages that follow one another has a visual rhythm, an echo of the ebb and flow of music itself.
And as the music slows to a halt on stage, and Gor and his fellow musicians chat and tune their instruments, I stand, for an instant, in the midst of a hovering silence. And I think: even the silence is music.
Tufenkian Fine Art, Glendale, CA, 2016
Venice Arts, Venice, CA 2017