There are seven villages in this part of Syunik – Khoznavar, Vaghatur, Khnatsakh, Aravus, Tegh, Kornidzor, and Nerkin Khndzoresk.
Here, one is standing on the BORDERLINE of the house, the orchard, the field, the village,
the community, the state and homeland.
Nerkin Khndzoresk village. 2 July 2021. A room on the second floor of a house situated in just 17 steps from the neutral zone. Silence. The borderline is clear…
It starts from the window of this room that lets the blue light in all through the night, and the shadows of the trees play on the wall in the blue light.
It has been two years already this light is here – every night… It is the spotlight of the Azerbaijani side…
Here, in this room on the borderline, a tilted painting is hanging on the wall. There is no border in it. It depicts an incredibly peaceful day, so very unnatural.
The border starts from the smell of freshly-baked bread, from the sound the blacksmith makes when he hits the anvil in the village of Tegh. It starts from a dove nesting box, handmade by the son who returned from war; it starts from places the kids of Khoznavar hide… They are playing peekaboo…
The border starts from a warm hug with granny Sveta of Khnatsakh village who I barely know but call her “granny” without bothering much…
The border starts from the wheat field of gold. The villagers – the entire village – will harvest the autumn crops in Nerkin Khndzoresk armed with shotguns. Standing in the middle of the field, Valya looks straight into my eyes and says, “The peasants squeeze bread from stone.”
The border starts from Vaghatur’s magical spring, and from the woodshed, stocked with wood from early spring ahead of next winter.
The border “fits” in a small Wyllis jeep. Suren never turns off its engine after the war; he cannot restore his inner peace…
The border starts from the military coat hung on a clothesline rope that needs to dry by morning. After a 15-day shift in bakery, Arsen will spend another 15 days to protect the border.
This is where Armenia starts, from this very part of Syunik… Here, an alien photographer is treated homemade vodka and the first toast is to peace…
… Notwithstanding the threat looming over us, which is indeed hard, everyone’s door is wide open for anyone entering the village, as long as the person is a “good man”.
Piruza Khalapyan started her photographic carrier after completing a yearlong photojournalism course at the Caucasus Institute, organized by World Press Photo in 2005-2006. Then she studied at Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinematography, specialization of documentary film director. She has worked as photo editor in “Patker” Photo Agency and “National Geographic Traveler Armenia” magazines. Her photographs were published in the local and international publications. Piruza had personal and group exhibitions in Armenia, Georgia, France, Vienna and other countries. From 2008-2009 she participated in “Close to Home” and “Living Together” touring exhibition, British Council. In 2011 she got 1st prize in the British Councils Na/Ne Media Award. In 2018 winner of Vienna Contemporary, “The Art Proof Production grant”. From 2016 Piruza Khalapyan is a member of 4 Plus, a non-profit cooperative that aims to develop documentary photography in Armenia and empower women through photography.
Composer, musician, mastering engineer, author, independent researcher, concert organiser, curator who operates in the field of noise, electronic and experimental music since 1989, born in Zaire (DR Congo). Lives in Berlin (Germany). Lived in Belgium and the Netherlands. Explores electronic, experimental and noise music from Asia and Africa, label manager at Syrphe, radio host at Radio Staalplaat, 88vier/Colaboradio and Boxout.fm, member of bands such as Axiome, Tasjiil Moujahed, Cedrik Fermont + Marie Takahashi, Salims Salon, Ambre, and many more.