Using as leitmotif "The stack", the first chapter of the novel "Thresholds" by Krikor Beledian, this video aims to reflect on 20th century photography and its role in human cultural and family heritage among many other things. The text, one of the literary jewels of Western Armenian, questions the influence of the photographed images on whether or not making the family history one's own flesh, in this case a family of survivors to the Armenian Genocide (1915). To quote Jenifer Manoukian about the book in her essay “Exile and Memory in Contemporary Western Armenian Literature“: "Published in Western Armenian in 1997 and translated into French by Sonia Bekmezian in 2011, Սեմեր is the first in a series of semi-autobiographical narratives exploring facets of the author’s childhood in Beirut and the first of his novels to be translated into any language. Beledian, born in 1945, is one of a handful of writers who currently publishes creative works in Western Armenian—the branch of the language once used by Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and now used, to varying degrees, by their descendants scattered throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. (...)The fragility of family history is a recurring theme in the novel. The narrator is empowered by the idea that, in an instant, he could burn the photographs and rip up the stories and nothing would remain of his family’s past. He is seduced by the power inherent in this role. The voice, however, implores him to keep the pictures and write down everything it tells him in order to keep the traces of the community alive. And he dutifully agrees.“ Although it was written in 1997, in the face of the waves of migrants caused by globalization and the wars of the last decades, this text does not lose its topicality: it speaks to all exiles, whether by choice or not, who question themselves about their uprooting and the ties that sustain them or bind them to their origins. Today we are all potential migrants. Der Meguerditchian, who in her daily practice deals with photographic archives, embarks through the author's language on a search for unimagined images.


A film by Silvina Der Meguerditchian

Text: Krikor Beledian

Voice: Arsiné Khanjian.

English translation: Taline Voskeritchian and Christopher Millis

Sound: Modal chant with Virginia and Aram Kerovpyan

Editing: Silvina Der Meguerditchian

Soundmix: Ignacio Cantisano

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© Silvina Der Meguerditchian