The modern building of COAF SMART Center, marvelously merged into the tranquility of Lori nature, became a perfect venue for the Progressive Art Center to launch its second HASSFest – Hearing Art, Seeing Sound Festival. The week-long event showcased the collaborative works of over 20 internationally recognized artists and their Armenian peers in a series of live concerts, art exhibits, masterclasses, and seminars. The festival opening took place on October 7, inside and outside the fabulous three-wing curvy building lodged in the picturesque mountains of Debed.
The festival introduced non-traditional European artists to like-minded creators in Armenia who together mixed art with music and science to create multisensory experimental works. First launched in 2016 with the support of famous Armenian-American rock artist Serj Tankian, HASSFest is the brainchild of Armenian composer Vahan Sargsyan and musical friends. This year the organizers focused on the combination of electronic music and visual arts. But for Hayk Mnatsakanyan, project manager of HASSFest18, the event was about more than just immersive experiences. “It’s also about introducing a new state of mind in the Armenian arts world.”
In this context, the launching of the event at the SMART Center, “designed to advance a generation across the rural world through education that will benefit individuals, societies, and the environment,” was no coincidence. “In addition to being a center for innovative technologies, robotics, and the furthering of English language proficiency,” said Irina Igitkhanyan, COAF’s Director of Partnerships and Events, “we also want COAF SMART to be associated with art. Our objective is to foster the artistic potential of rural children who would otherwise go unnoticed.”
Featured artists included Alex Kordz (Netherlands), Wajira Boonluea (Taiwan) in collaboration with Alex McGery (UK), Fur the Burds (Netherlands), Radical Musac Septet (Switzerland), Jacob Groening (Germany) and others. Marcelino Martin Valiente from Company B. Valiente contemporary dance company said that “COAF SMART is a wonderful venue. I am glad I revealed this Center for me.”
The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of several European artists and the Armenian diaspora of Europe.