The apocalypse is nigh. Will you choose the boat?
Armenian-American writer, filmmaker, and magician Garin Hovannisian is a major new talent – a completely original voice and vision. His recent City of Cards is not merely a magic special that’s full of hypnosis, breathtaking musings on the city of Yerevan, and whooshing card tricks. Above all else, it is a 35-minute spellbinding examination of your soul – something that is harder to do in these times when self-reflection often does not go beyond a self-ie.
Who’s going to be the next Noah is something that Hovannisian intends to decipher through his gripping ceremony of hypnosis in City of Cards. And while the ceremony itself is worth being sung about, what really stands out is its fundamental question. Hovannisian knows how to go into the pit of the dragon – the deepest corner of the human subconscious – angering the beast with the sharp edge of this ultimate question. Who’s the modern-day hero, the prophet, the messiah that will save us from the apocalypse brewing under our feet?
In this modern age, when human progress is no longer the extension of the glorious deeds of eminent few with valor, unwavering resolve, and intelligence, but a product of immeasurable many in their rightful place in this pipeline of life, who can be the new Noah?
Hovannisian starts from the very beginning with his singularly poetic sequence where he’s laying out on the table the different archetypes of characters bustling through his city of Yerevan. “And here in this city, living side by side, were the heroes and the cowards, the rich and the poor, the two-faced and the single-minded. … And we are shuffled into the destiny of the place.”
Destiny, or as Armenians call, “Chakatagir” (the writing on your forehead) seems to be the highway to the answer of this and other questions. From the destiny of the place and the destiny of the ancient Armenian king Arshak II to the destiny of the very participants of this magic happening, Hovannisian walks the audience through the magnetic power that this writing seems to have in our lives, in which “every accident is carefully planned.” And while this destiny may seem to be overruling and omnipotent, Hovannisian unravels to the audience the mechanics behind it, making the subconscious conscious. Making it into a spectacle to remember.
And yet, is there a way to overrule your destiny or is this a thin gruel? Perhaps there is. Perhaps the only real way of overruling it is to make a covenant with it, to nail your life to the cross you need to carry. Or in this case, to pick the boat you are willing to build, because, as Hovannisian prophetically puts, “The truth is, there is a storm coming to our city of Yerevan. The world is actually about to end. And all the people who mocked you, you laughed at you. All those people need you now. We need you now. Only you can save us. Only you can bring a new world. ”
City of Cards ends leaving us with inquiries that surely deserve an idle hour and rekindling our bond with our soul and sovereignty of mind.