Artists Andre Keichian and Zach Dorn Explore Ancestral Stories at the Camera Obscura Art Lab

February 3, 2022 8:34 AM

The City of Santa Monica’s Studio Residency Program at the Camera Obscura supports the work of local artists and highlights the intersection of fine art and craft. Artists Andre Keichian and Zach Dorn will be in residence for the Spring 2022 session. Both artists will explore their family’s history while drawing inspiration from the studio and the environment surrounding the Camera Obscura at Palisades Park.

Argentine-American artist, Andre Keichian, will employ the eco-friendly film processing technique of using salt water from the Pacific and seaweed gathered on Santa Monica’s beaches to develop a 16mm film. Keichian’s project, Salt in the I, is a body of work that grapples with his family’s history of displacement dating back to the Armenian Genocide which marks the beginning of his family’s migration across the Middle East to France, Argentina, and finally the US. The film will play with the ghosts of his family history through the exploration of photographs, photo negatives, animated renderings, photographic manipulation, and historical research to create new narratives from trauma. The work asks how we can manage and maintain the telling of our own stories after they have been erased or forgotten.

Filmmaker, writer, and performing artist Zach Dorn plans to use Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura itself to develop stop motion animation and visual effects to tell ancestral stories of family members who have passed. Primarily a live performance artist, the pandemic forced Dorn to shift his practice into the realm of filmmaking. He spent two years building miniature sets, animating stop-motion puppets, and editing a short film in his 12’X12’ bedroom. The Camera Obscura Art Lab Studio Residency offers Dorn the opportunity to breathe new life into his practice and his project Long Live Livia. 

The works will be available to view online this spring at the conclusion of the residencies.

For more information about the arts in Santa Monica visit santamonica.gov/arts. 

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