Merri Mkrtchian Still from the film 'Yerevanian Illness'
Against the poignant context of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border crisis, Merri Mkrtchian focuses on the young generation and the underground culture emerging in Yerevan.
Yerevanian Illness is an experimental documentary film through which Mkrtchian travels to different events and places within the city. She uses flickering images, stroboscopic lights, and a heavy bass to provide the viewers with a glimpse of what it is like to experience post-war Yerevan. Assuming different roles—director, cinematographer, and subject—she offers a distorted portrait of herself, while also deliberately keeping certain aspects concealed.
The recorded texts that Mkrtchian carefully attaches to the film have been collected for a few years. They consist of poetic outbursts, random conversations with friends and strangers, and noisy city soundscapes. These texts express the delusion of a city entrenched in trauma. On the screen, the viewer sees young people who turn to alcohol, drugs, and parties in a bid to escape the reality around them. At the same time, the film speaks of hope, reflected in the laughter and affection of the youth, a testament to the fact that even in the most hopeless situations, they still have each other.
Mkrtchian creates a perceptive mix of sound, image, and text to build a space that can trigger personal insights, scrutinizing one’s relation to a city as a place of distress, but also as a place in which one can feel embraced by the like-minded.
The work of Merri Mkrtchian is part of the group exhibition Space to Breathe, curated by Newsha Tavakolian and on display in the Grote Kerk Breda.
Merri Mkrtchian (b. 1995, Yerevan, Armenia) is an Armenian visual artist and writer. She graduated from Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography with a BA in film directing. Currently, she lives and works in Armenia, and works with different media productions as a film director.
Location: Grote Kerk