During the day, Barkev Gulesserian is an experimental music performer. At night, he becomes Bernard Herman, a character who invites people to explore their boundaries and their fears on one-on-one tours on Central Park after midnight
During the day Barkev Gulesserian is an experimental artists and musician. At night he becomes Bernard Herman, a character who takes people on one-on-one tours in Central Park after midnight.
For this project, called Haunted New York, Galauserian took his alter ego from the composer Bernard Herrmann, famous for his scores in Alfred Hitchcock’s films.
Galauserian has always felt attracted to the aesthetics of darkness and mystery and in his tours, he explores the boundaries and fears of the participants. The Bernard Herman character represents an outcast and a villain who wanders between the shadows of the spooky area known as “the rambles”, in Central Park.
“I picked the rambles because that’s a place that is really like a natural habitat, and raw and unfinished or is presumably unfinished part of Central Park,” he said. “It’s also a place where a lot of people who don’t fit in New York, or society of historically, have considered a home.”
In a city of eight million inhabitants, human connections can be challenging for some people like Gulesserian.
Under the unnerving atmosphere of the experience, Haunted New York hides a deeper purpose. It seeks to create the intimate connection with other people that Gulesserian is looking for and that music performances do not allow him to accomplish. By using fear to trigger emotions in people, he creates bonds which otherwise would remain inaccessible among the city’s hubbub.
“You know, I’m just one person doing something to create a relationship with other people, it’s that simple,” he said.
Tape: Ahh yes, Central Park at night after all the hubbub of the city dies down. We are left with this, peace and quiet.
Darkness, a move away from knowledge, a move away from science, a move away from logic, rationality… It’s the only thing I find interesting, everything else feels so boring to me.
Well, the haunted tour is tours that I take people on in Central Park, from sunset to sunrise, it’s one on one, and we basically figure out how much people can take.
When you, you create a situation where they might have a traumatic experience, or they might have, they might become uncomfortable physically, and not within like a, you know, a setting where there’s some safety, like literally anything can happen, something bad can happen… that’s when I think people start opening up and thinking.
I thought initially, you can either 13 dollars to come to this or you can and be excited and ready to have a good time and do whatever it is, so, you know, if you’re willing to come here and give me your urine sample and give me a photocopy of your driver’s license, I know I’m gonna a good time on tour with you, because we are gonna be ready for anything else that we’re gonna do.
I just have that urine, it’s in my room there’s a lot of flies that are showing up out of nowhere (chuckles) and they’re hanging out. I have these driving licenses photocopies, I look at them, there’s something to it, it’s fascinating. Are you willing to share something personal with me? Are you willing to give something? Why not? Why not?
I’m not really interested in phrasing what I do as art. You know, I’m just one person doing something to create a relationship with other people, it’s that simple.
Tape: Good evening. Welcome to Haunted New York City. Let’s take a little walk so we can get out of the light.