Longing for a peaceful sleep

ritual / performance / installation

Maria Matinyan

Armenians use to say: "Homeland is not a geographical territory; homeland is what is inside".

This is not only a poetic metaphor but also a political definition. History relocates the position of the 'homeland' through the geographical castling, the separation and the understanding of what cartography is. Cartography as a means of identification, resettlement and colonization. Boundaries as a means to understand the ownership and dominance.

Since the beginning of time, maps have been defining our destinies. Today, more than 280 families were moved just in the last months, according to recent attacks on the territory of Armenia. Geographical unsustainability leads nations to forced resettlement. Where we must rebuild our physical home as an unmaterial land inside of our souls. This catastrophe of ungrounded identity follows Armenians in the loops of historical occupations. Generation by generation, stone by stone we are recreating our origins on the ashes of ruins from a war. Our Identity is no longer defined geographically, it only exists in our culture, poetry, songs, totems and rituals.

One of these rituals is the ritual of resettlement. Millions of stories of people who were forced to move, to take only the most valuable things and leave their homes behind. Home as eyewitness of memory, and memory as eyewitness of self-identity. This metaphor of recollecting a memory is behind the research of an artist Maria Matinyan. Within her ritual “Longing for peaceful sleep”, she is replacing plants from a garden to the rooftop of a concrete building. One more time proving: the utopia of refunding a ground to plant the seeds of your origins is a thankless task. And even more: if you look back, what remains behind is only wounded traces of resettled plants, uprooted in the hope of finding new growth in a different soil. Will this trauma find a relief, will the plants find a peaceful sleep again?

Text by Gohar Martirosyan

Maria Matinyan

Ari im Sokhak

Armenian folk song / Lullaby

Maria Matinyan

Come my nightingale, leave your garden | Tell poems for my boy to fall into slumber
He is crying, do not come, nightingale | My son doesn't want to become a bishop

Dear turtledove, leave your home and youngs | Whimper for my boy to fall into slumber
He is crying, do not come, turtledove | My son doesn't want to become a mourner

Leave your green and pasture, skylark | Swing my boy, he needs to sleep
He is crying, do not come, skylark | My son doesn't want to become a priest

Leave your hunt, come, brave hawk | Your song may be what my son wants
When the hawk came, my son hushed | And fell into slumber with the songs of war.

When the hawk came, my son hushed
And fell into slumber with the songs of war.

Special thanks to:

Jianling Zhang, Vahan Matevosyan, Pascal Momboisse, Micaela Sanchez