OCULUS, Fall 2004 A publication of the American Institute of

OCULUS, Fall 2004
A publication of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter
Volume 66 Issue 3
Mixing Palettes
By Ruth Altchek
Associate Editor of I.D. Magazine

Nishan Kazazian, AIA, wishes that art and architecture were not
thought of as distinct disciplines.” Look at all the mosques in Iran,
the temples in Greece. When did art stop being part of architecture
and vice versa?” he wonders. “Art, architecture, politics, commerce
mixing together – you have to be able to talk about all of it. If you
are not able to do that, your work becomes limited.”

Kazazian holds master’s degrees in art and architecture, both from
Columbia University. Since 1985, he has worked to re-wed the two
disciplines as principal of the Chelsea-based A&A Design Group (the
A’s stand for art and architecture), which focuses on residential and
commercial projects in the New York metropolitan area. His wood
construction from the 1990s are single planes of material that unfold
to generate forms, blurring sculpture, furniture, and
architecture. More recently, animation has been Kazazian’s chosen
medium. With his assistant Peter Mathias, Kazazian conceives and
directs politically themed, architecturally influenced animations.

For example, Endless Cycle? suggests parallels between September 11
and the Armenian genocide, for example. In the haunting
two-minute-long animation, zombie-like figures emerge and back into a
murky abyss, just as, Kazazian points out, “we raise our heads only
briefly before going back to our daily routines.” In Bleached Blood, a
ziggurat of contemporary world flags collapses, its colors dissolving
into a muddy pool. Set to a score of national anthems, the piece calls
into question themes of national identity, warfare, and shared
humanity. Kazazian’s animations have been shown at Art Resources
Transfer in New York and several international film festivals.