Arto Tunçboyaciyan

Grammy Award Winning percussionist, vocalist, and composer Arto Tunçboyaciyan was born in August 4, 1957 in Galataria, near Istanbul, the son of a shoemaker of Armenian-Anatolian descent. The greatest musical influence of his life was his brother very famous musician and composer Onno Ohannes Tunçboyaciyan. Onno was not only his brother, but his mentor, friend, supporter and one who encouraged Arto to develop his character.

At the age of 11, he began his career playing and recording traditional Anatolian music with great legendary musicians and his brother,
thus establishing himself as a professional musician throughout Turkey and Europe. In 1981 Arto moved to the United States to find his world, to add his own light to his music and to live the life as free and creative person. Here he performed and recorded with many  great musicians such as Paul Motian, Chet Baker, Joe Zawinul, Arthur Blythe, Wayne Shorter, Dino Saluzzi, Marc Johnson, Al Di Miola, Jim Pepper, Bob Berg, Gerardo Nunez, Mike Stern, Paul Winter, System of a Down, etc.

Later on, Arto started a meaningful cooperation with the Armenian oud player Ara Dinkjian. In 1985 was founded the quartet NIGHT
ARK led by Ara Dinkjian. Arto recorded the duo project with Ara Dinkjian Tears of Dignity (1994) and Onno (1996) homage to his
brother Onno who tragically died in a plane crash in 1996. These compositions were a clear expression of Arto’s memories of his

In 1988, his first solo albums Virginland and Main Root were released.
In 1997 Aile Muhabbeti was released in Turkey and used as a movie soundtrack. Arto composed the songs of this new album with various Armenian and Turkish musicians. In 2000 was brought to life the next album Every Day is a New Life.  Arto devoted his next album Türkce sözlü hafif anadolu müzigi (Light Anatolian music with Turkish words)(with the Armenian Navy Band) to all his Anatolian friends and fans. The album was recorded in the winter of 2001.

In 2003 Armenian Navy Band pianist Vahagn Hayrapetyan and Arto released their first duo project, Love Is Not in Your Mind, a very personal declaration of love – dedicated to his mother. In February of 2005, Arto recorded his new solo-project Artostan – a travel diary through unlimited ways in his world of sounds. In 1998 he founded Armenian Navy Band and created a new expression of our life – the Avant-Garde Folk music (that’s why they call him Mr. Avant Garde Folk), which means without loosing the flavor of your identity you extent your imagination with your experiences.

2007 marked the release of his appropriately named “200 Thoughts 200 Million Meanings Outside Looking In”. The book shares Arto’s experiences and views of life.  Arto has released 2 albums under the group Human Element spring 2011,2018.  The band, comprised of Arto on percussions and vocals, Scott Kinsey on keyboards, Matthew Garrison on electric bass, and Gary Novak on the drums is just the continuation of his musical journey with the same enthusiasm and excitement, saying that, “Curious and imaginative person is excited person.”

Arto’s persistency and dedication to his craft has earned him admirers all over the world. His legend only continues to grow not knowing any borders, color, or religion. 2011 has been a rewarding year for Arto. He recently won a Grammy award for his contributing compositions to Miho: Journey to the Mountain performed by the Paul Winter Consort.

“Music is the time of my life. I don’t give direction to anybody. I let you imagine for yourself, but what I try to give you is Love, Respect, Truth. I believe this is the simplest form of wealth in this world for the path to trust and this is what we need.”

Nina Scholz

Nina Scholz is an architect and founding member of the art/ architect collective Plattformer. Her practice includes architectural interventions and public space ‘repair’ through a participatory approach. Alongside the work with Plattformer she has collected experience working with various architecture practices in London (Lyn Atelier, WWM Architects) as well as while three years co-teaching the diploma unit10 at the Cass of Metropolitan University. Other interests are furniture making, ecological building and sound recording. She’s currently co-presenting a weekly radio show at Radio Kampus FM in Warsaw.
Born in Germany (1975) lives and works in London and Warsaw.

Plattformer Collective’s work is set somewhere between urbanism, public art and social interaction. We often work in areas and places that are in transition.In our projects we strongly believe in enhancing participation, communication and exchange between people of different cultural backgrounds, different ages and abilities. Our current research interest lies in examining and testing what are the parameters for successful hands-on participation and tools for communication and how they can be nurtured at ArtSakh Fest for future collaboration and creative interaction with the local community of Stepanakert city. In collaboration with ArtSakh Fest participants, visitors and local residents of Stepanakert our aim is to explore and challenge how we see and experience our local environment and to discuss possible ways of future interaction that offer alternative everyday experiences.

Agnieszka Dragon

Agnieszka Dragon is a culture practitioner and project coordinator from Poland/UK. Interested in various forms of grassroots activism and narratives, multi-generational and participatory initiatives. Her projects are located on the border between community art, urban gardening and creative work with local communities. She is interested in various ways how to collect stories, create mutual exchanges, how to use mapping, sound recordings and feasting as tool for development and understanding of local identity. She is involved in the movement of opening allotment gardens for local communities. Co-founder of the association of urban activities SAM Rozkwit (Warsaw). Member and project coordinator in Social-Art Association “Nie Po Drodze” (Suwałki). Currently lives and works between London, Warsaw and Suwałki.

Laura Arena

Laura Arena is a multidisciplinary artist, activist, designer, and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. Arena’s work encompasses photography, video, installation, writing, and social interventions with a focus on storytelling, human rights causes, gameplay, race, and identity. She has exhibited in galleries and festivals worldwide, and has participated in events in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Arena has attended residencies and workshops in Greenland, Iceland, Romania, Hungary, Palestine, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and the United States.

Arena is the founding and current director of DE-CONSTRUKT, which hosts international and national artists through its residency program. DE-CONSTRUKT also includes a photography darkroom, studio rental and a community event space. She previously ran an art gallery called Lucky Gallery located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Arena’s work has been included in recent exhibitions, such as, Uproot at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Sacred Space Rituals at Fish Factory Creative Center, Stöðvarfjördur, Iceland; Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things at the New York Film Festival, New York; and Second Sundays at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn. She has recently partaken in residencies including Ilulissat Kunstmuseum Residency, Greenland; AIR Vela Straža Artist Residency, Šolta Island, Croatia; Spread Art Detroit, USA; and is currently working in both Tbilisi Georgia and Yerevan, Armenia on projects.

Vishup Ensemble

“Like a graceful river that both complements and continually redefines its landscape, the music of the Vishup Ensemble meanders through vast, storied swaths of Armenian history, at turns surging and gliding into domains that range from myth, lyric poetry, and metaphysics to gleeful ditties and the ploughman’s song.”
-Sona Hamalyan

Vishup ensemble was founded by flutist, vocalist and guitarist Arik Bambir in 2015 in Armenia, and after leaving for Los Angeles for some period of time it again came back to Armenia and continued its musical journey with new members. Vishup Ensemble is a folk band based on Armenian folklore music. The music of the Vishup Ensemble meanders through vast, storied swaths of Armenian history, at turns surging and gliding into domains
that range from myth, lyric poetry, and metaphysics to gleeful ditties and the ploughman’s song. Vishup Ensemble is an ever-growing collective launched by Arik Bambir with a revolving cast of musicians which act as a thorough exploration into the history of Armenian music. Vishup Ensemble has the distinct pleasure of always incorporating new musicians, moving and evolving with location and time. Vishup is working with its current members for only some two three months, but already had the opportunity to have concerts and performances both in and out of Armenia during different events and festivals.

Vishup’s original compositions and reinterpretations of classics alike thrive not merely on experimentation per se, but, ultimately, a sense of soaring liberty, of wide-open vistas, where passion — whether fiery or sublime — is given free rein. Vishup, after all, means “dragon” in Armenian.

Susanna Arakelyan

Susanna Arakelyan creates mixed media artworks, paintings, drawings and media art. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, Susanna seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

An alumina of National Center of the Aesthetics in graphic design and
illustration, she holds a BA in Industrial design from Yerevan State University. In 2000 -2003 she has attended an MFA at Rijksademie van Beeldendale Kunatsten in Amsterdam (NL). Her works are shown in private and gallery collections worldwide. Arakelyan‘s mixed media artworks don‘t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted.

By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday
aesthetic of middle class values, she creates intense personal moments
masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles. Her works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role.

Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination. Her works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned.

By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, she wants to amplify
the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that
generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation. Her works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By emphasising aesthetics, she tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality
that develops through different interpretations.

Her works sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness,
along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the
reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By applying abstraction, she absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.

Lea Fröhlicher

Lea Fröhlicher’s work increasingly deals with subjects like modes of acting, mannerisms, phenomena of daily routines, unofficial knowledge; Relations to people and between them influence her projects, which are process oriented and often span over a long period of time. Involving and cooperating with people play a key role in her work as well as the dialog and the coming together of different living environments, ideas and knowledge. In this context audio and video recordings are made, combined and consolidated. Additionally, different objects — found or traced — form together the parts of an installation. A further aspect Lea Fröhlicher engages with is the border between documentation and fiction which she traces with her video camera. She is interested in documenting «real» situations, but also finding out what peculiarities a situation entails and at which point a situation becomes an enactment.

Lea Fröhlicher graduated from Bern University of the Arts (Switzerland) with a Master in Art Education with teaching diploma and from University of Bern with a Master minor in Art History. She works as an artist and as a culture and art mediator. Amongst being a co-initiator of «Passage», an artistic production and presentation space in Solothurn (CH), functions as a freelance associate in the mediation of culture and arts in the Neues Museum Biel and Kunsthaus Pasquart (CH) and works for commissioned films, amongst others as a video journalist for the swiss online culture TV channel Furthermore Fröhlicher teaches photography and video workshops at an adult education institution in Switzerland and curates exhibitions at «S11» in Solothurn, a platform for contemporary artistic practice.

Olivia Hegetschweiler

In Olivia Hegetschweiler‘s artistic works the visitors / spectators become the players. In the created, not common situations, they become part of the scenography. Olivia has a playful approach to the themes like atmosphere, identity, attire and cuisine. Unusual combinations are being formed in her spatial statements. These are always site specific, installative and mostly performative and multisensory. She likes to develop her projects in collaboration with other artists, amongst others with Lea Fröhlicher. Olivia Hegetschweiler made her apprenticeship as a shop- window dresser in an agency for three-dimensional communication in Zürich (Switzerland). Then she was working as a visual merchandiser for an international fashion brand for four years. What she was missing, was to develop her own ideas, therefore she has made the Bachelor of Arts in Scenography at the Zurich University of the
Arts. There she learned to put a given space as an aesthetic medium in scene, to analyse this space and to communicate through sketches, maps, plans and models.

Marcel Mayer

The Swiss artist and printmaker Marcel Mayer was born in Basel (Switzerland) in 1965.  After his apprenticeship (industrial mechanic), he studied at the Basel School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung Basel, Fachklasse für Originaldruckgrafik, 1991–94). Since 1994, Marcel Mayer is the head of the professional printing studio “druckwerk“ in Basel (letterpress, woodcut, intaglio and lithography). Since 2006, he organizes workshops and in its own artistic practice he focuses on printmaking, book making and poster design. Works by Marcel Mayer have been showcased in solo and group exhibitions in Switzerland, Germany, and Canada since 1990. His works can be found in private and public collections in Switzerland, Germany, Canada and Japan.