Extra Credit, 2020, video, 20:20
Extra Credit is a video by Farrah Karapetian, made for the Wende Museum's Transformations exhibition, that reimagines Springtime, the 1976 painting by Boris Aleksandrovich Spornikov of female workers using flower petals to construct a mural depicting Lenin. Karapetian was fascinated by this painting because of the amount of faith those women must have had in the ideas Lenin represented, and because she couldn't imagine what or who now could command that kind of faith. Karapetian asked a network of her peers to ask their students in what or whom they believe; many were given extra credit for their participation. The artist sorted their responses and provided them to the Voices 21C chamber choir and artist collective, members of which elected certain phrases to improvise alone, under lockdown orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the key of B flat major. Karapetian then constructed a sound sculpture out of their contributions, which plays over the image of her hands, picking petals off of flowers in every color of the rainbow. Before you can begin to depict what you believe, today, she thought, you have to ask the question, and you have to do this work: who knows which colors would be relevant to the building of a symbol that reflects the diversity of today's beliefs?
With great thanks to Voices 21C chamber choir and artist collective, and the network of educators that made this possible, especially including Emilie Amrein, Paul Lerner, Hunter Bivens, Susan Grieder, and Philip Gamaghelyan. Thanks also to Joes Segal and the Wende Museum for their always inspirational challenges and for keeping the questions of the past present today.
André de Quadros, artistic director
Singing in this piece: Anais Azul, Chris Clark, Jesse Colford, Eugenia Siegel Conte, André de Quadros, Mary DiRoberts, Bradford Dumont, Lauren Extrom, Elise Felker, Michael Genese, Krystal Morin, Mariah Wilson