Relief - Photograms, 2015-16
As Karapetian saw documentary images of overseas migration begin to flood media in 2015, she also spoke with individuals in Havana planning to cross to Florida, and began a process of researching her own family's immigration to the United States. The photograms that result from this input archive safety implements such as life vests, life boats, and circle buoys, but also the verbs of motion that result from darkroom performance with water, ice, metal obstacles, and competing light sources.
Stagecraft - Photograms, 2014-15
Stagecraft is a theatrical term referring to material machinations that foster the experience of reality, whatever that means to a director. As much of the artist's process dances with the notion of photography as creative nonfiction, she focused here on components of the stage - the musical stage. The artist took as her immediate inspiration for this series her father's drum kit. He had been practicing in her studio when diagnosed with a cancer, and she took as metaphor the kit itself, refabricating its cymbals in a vulnerable glass and its drums in skeletal steel.
Slips & Pushes - Photograms 2013-15
En route to creating an installation - Rock, Paper, Scissors - for the Orange County Trans-Pacific Triennial in 2013, Karapetian made a series of mistakes: ice slipped across the surface of her color paper in the darkroom, melting and slithering beyond the rectangular frame. Creative processes need take heed of chance, and new controls need respond. First, then, came the Slips, and then, the Pushes.
Muscle Memory - Photograms 2013
Karapetian worked with veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces to recreate their muscle memory of certain actions they no longer use. The first installation of this work was designed around a gallery's entrance, with the veterans breaching the door to the space. Visitors had to walk through the piece to see the rest of the show, implicating them in an action they may not otherwise consider themselves a part of in their daily lives.
Accessory to Protest - Photograms 2011
A pamphlet instructing novice protesters in the mechanics of civilian unrest was widely distributed in Egypt prior to the Fall of Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak. It was immediately outdated, as it described the potential friendship between police & the people, and as it described routes in hardcopy that would constitute only one part of the struggle. Photography is a medium through which other mediums might be examined, and in the Accessory to Protest work, Karapetian examined this flyer - especially one page -8- that described eight items of "Necessary Clothing and Accessories" citizens might need. The artist also worked with images from the New York Times such as those of smoke bombs and riot police.
Surveillance & the People's Response - Photograms 2008
Karapetian's work frequently concerns moments of crisis as they register in both photographic and architectural space, from the marks of unrest transcribed on the Western panels of the Berlin Wall to the charged space of shadows burnt into the walls at Hiroshima. Here, she looked at images of surveillance specific to California and spent time with their forms. Soon after, working with the Wende Museum & Archive of the Cold War, she examined fragments of the Wall.