Arsinee Khanjian

A Conversation with Arsinée Khanjian and Screening of ‘Auction of Souls’ at UMich

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ANN ARBOR, MI – On Thursday, April 7 at 7 p.m., the Center for Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan is hosting actress, performer, producer, and civil rights activist Arsinée Khanjian and Marie-Aude Baronian, Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam to deliver the 2022 Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Distinguished Lecture. The discussion will be accompanied by a screening of the “Auction of Souls,” Performing Memory by and with Arsinée Khanjian (a production of Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin).

In 1918, Ravished Armenia, the eyewitness account of then 18-year-old Aurora Mardiganian, which relentlessly described her ordeal through the massacre of the Armenians, triggered a wave of shock. Only a handful of scenes and the script have survived from the film version that was created in 1919 with Aurora in the leading role. The copies disappeared just like Aurora, who died penniless and forgotten in Los Angeles at 92 years old. Arsinée Khanjian reconstructs the story of a desperate attempt to relate the indescribable.

For the 2022 Dr. Berj H. Haidostian Distinguished Lecture Khanjian, in conversation with scholar Marie-Aude Baronian, will discuss the genesis of “Performing Memory” and its various interpretative layers. They will also reflect upon broader issues such as the links between archives and memory, between art and political engagement, or between performance and Armenianness. Ultimately, this talk will stress the necessity of elaborating and including artistic practices in Armenian studies.

Khanjian is a Canadian-Armenian-Lebanese actress, performer, producer and civil rights activist. Throughout her career as an artist, she has extensively worked with her partner, Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, and she collaborated with numerous international filmmakers such as, a.o., Michael Haneke, Catherine Breillat, the Taviani brothers, Olivier Assayas and Fatih Akin. Khanjian is also actively involved in several artistic and community groups: she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Zoryan Institute for International Genocide and Human Rights Studies, of Canada’s leading contemporary art gallery The Power Plant, and was co-chair of the renowned Canadian contemporary dance company, Dancemakers.

Marie-Aude Baronian is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She has extensively lectured and written about Armenian diasporic visual arts, ethics and aesthetics, film and philosophy, media and memory, fashion/textile and visual culture, and material objects. Her most recent monographs include “Screening Memory: The Prosthetic Images of Atom Egoyan” (2017), and “Image et Mémoire: Regards sur la Catastrophe arménienne” (2013).

The event is free and open to the public. No registration required. The program will take place at the State Theatre (Theater 2), 233 South State St., Ann Arbor.

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