Interview with Michi Jigarjian

Recently, Michi Jigargian’s solo thesis show was presented at our graduate studios space in Long Island City.  The show was comprised of a selection of printed photographs, a small zine, and a large scale installation.  She describes the installation and comments on her experience in the interview below.

The site specific installation is entitled Alone Together and occupies the main gallery space where the weekly critiques take place. There are over 3,000 anchors created from the pre-exsisting holes made the semester before. Suspended from the ceiling is a clear elastic structure which is woven through the highest holes on the wall. There are two long elastic strings that suspend from the top holes to the bottom creating an obstruction of space.

You’ve stated that your thesis show, “From Ours To Yours” is about the fragile connections created, disrupted and broken within the process of daily life.  Could you expand upon the role of “fragile connections” in these works?

Recently I looked back at my journals from high school and I came across a note that read, “I need distractions to find connections” This is a seed of a thought that has quietly but continuously haunted me through its’ evolution in my life.

A photograph itself is one of the most fragile attempts to fix or connect a moment. Moyra Davey reminds us in her book, Long Life Cool White, that Barthes used the expression for an equivalent of a “photograph”: an image “expressed (like the juice of a lemon) by the action of light.”

This is something that I really wanted to explore in my installation. I chose an elastic clear string to weave a drop ceiling in the room, which created a web of shadows against the wall. The shadows were the most important part for me. They hinted at the idea of a photograph.

How was the experience of creating the installation in the gallery space?  Exhausting?  Exhilarating?

The main gallery space is also used for our weekly critiques. In the site-installation, Alone Together, I make reference to the history of the room’s trajectory through recreating the holes we collectively made the semester before.

I photographed the walls before they were refinished at the end of the semester and then projected them onto the wall to remake the holes. There were about 3,167 in the end, so yes very exhausting. My fingers and hands were cramping and I had to get some help to finish the last wall. It took about 13 hours total.

In the end, I was happy that I did it mostly by myself because I was able to find unexpected patterns, mappings and locations of the different holes by simply spending time with them.

The zine that is available in the show seems integral to understanding the works as a whole.  Please talk about the role of writing in your practice as an artist.

Writing has always been a part of my life, mostly in the form of note taking and short stories. I use it to hear to myself think. In the show, I wanted my words to point towards a connection between the photographs and the installation; without saying too much. The intentional gaps of space and sparsely laid out text were to provide a break or disruption.

The photographs in the zine are of my notebook or books that I am reading. Sontag wrote, “ A photograph could also be described as a quotation.”

A quotation is a form of repetition. I am interested in the break of that repetition within ones own thoughts. So, I close the zine with a photograph of an underlined passage from Sara Ruddicks essay entitled Talking about Mothers:

According to the philosopher C.S. Pierce, we think when we are disturbed and the aim of our thinking is to recover our equilibrium, if it is conflict and trouble that spur thought, then to describe a work to articulate its thinking means looking for its disturbances among its routines.

In the printed zine you write, “try to stay in the lines, make better use of your time, try to stay organized”.  Why is it important to be organized and stay between the lines?

In the sentence directly after the self-instructions you referenced, I actually break or ignore them.

It reads, “Recently on top of one of the pages I found the self- instructions, “try to stay in the lines, make better use of your time, try to stay organized.” Directly below is a drawing that filled the whole page and slipped into the crease of the next. “

Some of the most interesting things happen from straying outside the lines but I am still interested in what happens inside them.

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