Project by AJZ in the frames of 8th Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art
The project Economy of Hope organized by AJZ proposes to explore the phenomenon of hope not only as it appears in our mind emotionally, but also a commodity of sorts, a product of the gap between desire and its (im)possibility. It is an attempt to deconstruct those systems that complete the production, sale and consumption of hopes in certain socio-economic condition, such as one can experience living in Armenia. The artworks brought together propose different ways of approaching hope both as a motivation for supporting personally or collectively experienced desires, and as a commodity produced and imposed on us by different systems such as religion, local superstition narratives and traditions or new capitalism that enforce consumer-driven models of the economy of hope.

Nvard Yerkanian in her project Alternative Market plays up with this idea of commodification in another way representing hope put in the circulation. Dispersed over the city paper-made advertisements announce buying, selling and exchanging of large variety of hopes. Very notable one offers ‘to exchange the hope for not leaving Armenia with hope for getting a job’. Attached with telephone number these ads look verisimilar and only their content and message betray their absurdness and provocativeness. Thus exploring this virtual hope turnover displayed by its direct demand and supply Nvard Yerkanian also displays common hopelessness about changing social, economical, and political conditions existing in Armenia – hopelessness that in such a large scale is manipulated by different political forces.

All these works consider hope from different points uncovering its different aspects. One can argue overused idea of commoditized hope both in the concept of the project itself and also in some of the works comprising it. However reflecting the hope also from this perspective it becomes possible to find out some other viewpoints of reality.
Harutyun Alpetyan

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