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Tender Cargo

Tender Cargo explores how bodies hold and carry trauma across time and geography, drawing on artist Taleen Batalian’s legacy as the granddaughter of four grandparents from Western Armenia. Batalian grew up surrounded by references to the Genocide her family endured, but it was never discussed openly. After the death of her mother in 2012, Batalian began using textiles and sculpture to unpack this murky silence and interpret her cultural history to understand the legacy of trauma passed down from her grandparents to her parents and ultimately to her. Tender Cargo investigates what it means to wear and carry our trauma and asks us to consider how the body traverses under the weight of these heavy loads.


Tender Cargo comprises sculptural garments, other 2D and 3D artworks, and an original soundscape. The exhibition culminated in a live performance with dance, original sound score, and scenic design. 

The sound sources I used for the installation sound design, as well as for the live performance, included a recording of Taleen Batalian's father as well as live duduk, a double-reed wind instrument originating from Armenia. Additionally, a modular synthesizer and a MAX/MSP patch of my own design were used for live processing of the duduk and for live quadrophonic spatialization. Random algorithms controlled each of the sound sources as they moved about the sonic space (i.e moving points on a coordinate plane, quadraphonically moving between four speakers), so that the sounds created their own ever-changing "environment."

The exhibition and closing performance were created in collaboration with the following artists:

  • Taleen Batalian, Creative Director/Visual Artist

  • Antonio Forte, Sound Designer

  • Heidi Henderson, Choreographer and Dancer

  • Keri King, Scenic Designer/Project Consultant

  • Michele L’Heureux, Curator Jessica Pearson, Dancer

  • Andy Russ, Lighting Designer

  • Joshua Tuason, Dancer

Fall, 2022

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