The new experimental educational project LOVE AM by Syuzi Hakobyan, has been added to the list of alternative art classes at Yerevan special school for visually impaired children. Using the artificial musical language Solresol, the award-winning artist makes art accessible to visually impaired children and helps them to develop communication skills.
Applying the musical language to art classes
The classes are designed for students from 11 to 16 years old. The course consists of workshops and performances that help participants to explore different social topics by explaining them to each other.
For instance, to learn about the solar system, children have to create its prototype, to perform the rotation of the planets and describe to each other their colours and shapes. The main difficulty is that the students have different vision problems, and some of them are blind. So, the abilities to perceive things and colours vary enormously. Sound is the main facilitator of LOVE AM.
Syuzi uses Solresol to help students to learn about colours. It’s an artificial language created in 1827 by the French musician François Sudre with teaching disabled children in mind.
‘For LOVE AM, I use art to teach communication skills, – says Syuzi. – Except for visual problems, some of our students have articulation disorders. So, it’s essential to encourage them to express their opinions without fear and, at the same time, respect others ’.
Creating links between audiences with different needs
In 2018, Syuzi launched the New Art Stage, an art organization that implements creative social projects using new technology and various art methods. The key purpose of the project is to encourage the audience’s participation and involvement in social issues through art.
The first awareness campaign was the exhibition To See with Fingers (2018), curator Nazaret Karoyan, founder of the Institute for Contemporary Art (together with Syuzi in the image below).
The artist created 8 Braille portraits of blind people and 8 video-portraits of the same people. In the video, the participants describe their experiences, feelings, and memories. For instance, they recollected their behaviour in the theatre where they got to know each other without seeing.
The space of the exhibition was adapted to people with visual impairments, with a lot of descriptive Braille texts and convex lines on the walls. This allowed patrons without vision problems to better understand the needs of visually impaired visitors. More details are in a video by the New Art Stage, a critical review by Marine Khachatryan and an overview by ArtLabYerevan.
The public interest in To See with Fingers has encouraged Syuzi to create the LOVE AM course for children. Now she’s working on a new exhibition based on LOVE AM.
Another interesting collaboration during COVID restrictions was with Vahan Nahapetyan, an Armenian composer and musical arranger who also attended Yerevan special school for visually impaired children. Vahan created the audio theatre and then together with Syuzi they organized online musical games for children. They had to guess the name of Armenian films from which were taken sound pieces, phrases, or background sounds.
To discover more ways of working with the visually impaired and to reach other publics, Syuzi Hakobyan experiments with music. Inspired by the training at the EU Plovdiv School of Participation (2019) in the framework of Plovdiv 2019, the European Capital of Europe, she has created a series of musical compositions based on electro music (the results are on her YouTube channel). More details are in this post and in this article.
Let’s collaborate & exchange experiences!
Creative ideas and diverse collaborations with people from different fields help Syuzi to involve wide audiences in her incredible projects and make a difference in society. Connect to Syuzi Hakobyan (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Behance and LinkedIn), learn her experience, get inspiration and create new collaborations!