The film is situated at Pushkin Street in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. The street is lined with tall trees and monumental buildings, and is located in the heart of downtown. From a high balcony of one of the buildings, Tina Bastajian shot a video clip in 2004. The camera zooms out and reveals the demolition that is the result of an extensive urban renewal project, which spelled the end of many historic buildings and sent residents packing. For A Tree Once Grew on Pushkin Street, Bastajian had the video converted to film stock and then brought it back to the street in question. Construction workers, passersby, people on their way to work, school, or play stop by the construction site where the unraveled 16mm film is loosely draped over a fence. With the help of a magnifying glass, they examine the film stills. Five artists collaborated together with the public to rework the footage in their own way, using bleach, metal tools and lit cigarettes. In this manner, the residents of Yerevan take back the image of the street. The traces that the participatory audience leaves behind make A Tree Once Grew on Pushkin Street into a film on the boundaries of documentary and expanded cinema, and a memento mori of a city in transition.
In-situ collaboration with: Astghik Melkonyan, Lusine Talalyan, Lusine Chergeshtyan, Tina Bastajian, Seda Manavoglu.
A TREE ONCE GREW ON PUSHKIN STREET
2009 | 5 Minutes | color | sound | Armenia/Netherlands
In Armenian with English subtitles
-Link: IDFA/Dutch Synopsis