“Countdown – Message with Cigarette Butts”

In 1982, my father was sentenced to a Soviet prison in Armenia for an alleged bribery. While in prison, he smoked one cigarette a day as a way of counting his days of captivity.

This installation uses cigarette butts to document the number of days my father spent in prison and letters from prison of different people: unknown letters from Soviet Gulag, letters from famous people, such as Nelson Mandela, M.L. King, S. Paradjanov, Misak Manouchian ( French resistance during World War II) and etc. Concept: Imprisonment, whether actual or metaphorical, is an extreme experience that might push people to respond with a radical alternative to their boundaries, by channeling the desire for freedom into art concept. Materials: Cigarette butts (total 850), prints of my father’s portrait, plastic prints of the letters from prison (total 145 prints).