«Disappearing Memories» | EUNewsletter

«Disappearing Memories»

21 December 2012

The non-governmental organisation Utopiana (utopiana.am) recently screened a documentary called »Disappearing Memories» in Yerevan within the framework of the EU project «SPACES». SPACES is a three-year initiative to promote artistic and cultural action in public spaces.
«Disappearing Memories» was a unique documentary, photography-based film which told stories about areas of the Armenian capital during the reconstruction process of the old town.
The film’s director is the prominent Armenian photographer Hayk Bianjyan. Bianjyan believes photography is the best way to show others what he wishes to say and, with his images, he revealed the destruction of Yerevan’s historic and cultural monuments as a result of «the city centre’s core gentrifcation process».
‘For me as an Armenian, as a citizen it was very hard to follow how the people were being evicted from their own houses… It was a shock for me…how was it possible? They came and told the people: ‘You don’t live here anymore, new buildings will be constructed in this place, find a place to live in the suburbs’. Yet most of those people were the descendants of the people who founded this city hundreds of years ago,’ said Bianjyan, adding that: ‘In the ruins of the houses that were being destroyed I found family archives, they were really interesting’.

While taking pictures of the destruction process he also recorded voices, conducted interviews with residents, collected architectural details, personal objects and old family photos. The film preparation began in 2003.

‘When these people now walk along Northern Avenue, which used to be the part in which they grew up, it is no longer dear to them, it is a foreign city,’ said Bianjyan, adding that what had been done with the old part of the city showed complete disrespect towards the older generation, as well as towards history and even human dignity.

The film’s production was financially supported by the Open Society Foundation. Bianjyan is co-founder and director of Afrikyan & Bianjyan Group. It conducts genealogical research and compiles documents and photographs.

«Disappearing Memories»

The non-governmental organisation Utopiana (utopiana.am) recently screened a documentary called »Disappearing Memories» in Yerevan within the framework of the EU project «SPACES». SPACES is a three-year initiative to promote artistic and cultural action in public spaces. «Disappearing Memories» was a unique documentary, photography-based film which told stories about areas of the Armenian capital during the reconstruction process of the old town. The film’s director is the prominent Armenian photographer Hayk Bianjyan. Bianjyan believes photography is the best way to show others what he wishes to say and, with his images, he revealed the destruction of Yerevan’s historic and cultural monuments as a result of «the city centre’s core gentrifcation process». ‘For me as an Armenian, as a citizen it was very hard to follow how the people were being evicted from their own houses… It was a shock for me...how was it possible? They came and told the people: ‘You don’t live here anymore, new buildings will be constructed in this place, find a place to live in the suburbs’. Yet most of those people were the descendants of the people who founded this city hundreds of years ago,’ said Bianjyan, adding that: ‘In the ruins of the houses that were being destroyed I found family archives, they were really interesting’. While taking pictures of the destruction process he also recorded voices, conducted interviews with residents, collected architectural details, personal objects and old family photos. The film preparation began in 2003. ‘When these people now walk along Northern Avenue, which used to be the part in which they grew up, it is no longer dear to them, it is a foreign city,’ said Bianjyan, adding that what had been done with the old part of the city showed complete disrespect towards the older generation, as well as towards history and even human dignity. The film’s production was financially supported by the Open Society Foundation. Bianjyan is co-founder and director of Afrikyan & Bianjyan Group. It conducts genealogical research and compiles documents and photographs. [gallery link="file"]