“I & Thou” masks burning


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On the occasion of my 70th birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the diverse transferences with others that I’ve experienced throughout my life, and they were sometimes reflected in the evolution of my name and monikers alike.


The attached two-minute video captures it all, presenting a true sequence of evolving personas fired by the symbiotic synergies with others.


When we were done editing the video, once again I took the measure of my life’s turning points, and decided to adopt a name that would be a process: Transfourmer. It’s a universal appellation, with no tribal, cultural, national, or religious underpinnings.


A little background on how my names and monikers came to be:

I was baptized Hovhannes (after John the Baptist). But then my name was changed to Onnig, in memory of the departed son of my step-grandfather. Arriving in the US in my late teens, I became John. In my 20s, I collaged a deceased friend’s name onto mine, calling myself Kev-Onnig. In my 30s, friends called me Agima, which was what Jesus and his apostles addressed one another. Later I adopted the name Kardash (brother in Turkish), in gratitude to the Turks who saved my family from the Genocide of 1915. In my village, Stanfordville, New York, McOnnig is the name I like to be called. And in recent months I asked a friend for a new name for myself and he suggested Mardig, an Armenian word meaning warrior. I think Transfourmer, now my name of choice, is a good encapsulation of the transferences I’ve been honored to partake in.


Humbly yours,

4 Responses to “I & Thou” masks burning

  1. Eileen says:

    Very much enjoyed the video and discussion about your names. Thought provoking too as I’ve had the opposite experience in my 51 years – holding tightly to my name. I’ve never had any nicknames and can say the 12 years when I had my first husband’s name instead of my own 12 of the most uncomfortable, never ever got used to it.


    Changing one’s name is like changing clothes, what counts is your work and what you relay to the world at large… spiritually, mentally and physically… You can call yourself Santa Clause….. come Christmas, when you bring magic to kids…you really are Santa Clause..they will be waiting for you..

    I am a mom to my kids and have different names for others, depending how they appreciate my being…I strive to be a human…

  3. irina says:

    birth happens by water, fire starts by wind and a spark of thunder beings in the heart of man, rebirth is through mother… dirt and clay and compost.
    thats just how i see it.
    cool video 🙂

  4. It has been an honor, a pleasure, an inspiration to have been associated to you from classroom, home and social environments for the last fifty five years. Under any “name” your personality has shined, your talents have received acknowledgments and your devotion to art and humanity will have historical recognition. As my longest lasting true friend, I am immensely proud of you.