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Thousand Ruins

Video installation

3-channel video installation

duration: loop

year of creation: 2022

The Story of Nushirvan and his Vizier is a schoolbook excerpt from “The Treasury of Mysteries” (pers. Makhzan-ol-Asrâr) by the medieval poet Nizami Ganjavi. Nizami originated from Ganja, the second-largest city in modern Azerbaijan. Ganja was the city in which residential neighbourhoods were struck by missiles during the 44-day war.

The straight line drawn from Ganja to Aghdam in Google Maps stretches less than a hundred kilometres. Google is rarely incorrect about such things. There is a well-known expression: "I won't believe it until I see it with my own eyes." Well, I guess you probably just have to "want to see it" in order to "see it with your own eyes." Ultimately, Google's Artificial Intelligence algorithm will not show you what you do not want to see. So if you wish to "see with your own eyes", you do not have to wait in line for a visa, fill out an application form, book a room, and buy a ticket. It is as simple as clicking – one, two, and three... The foothills and plains of Karabakh are covered with a pattern of strange geometric shapes. The thousands of geometric shapes. Scroll down to see more – Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zengilan, Gubadli, Lachin, and Kelbajar. About 30 years ago, there were towns and villages there. Those geometric shapes once held hundreds of thousands of people. The shapes looked different back then, though, and the people were pretty much younger. Younger by 30 years. It was 30 years ago that these people had to leave. Leave so as not to be killed, to flee so that it would “not be like in Khojaly”. They escaped being referred to as IDPs – internally displaced persons. The “IDP” abbreviation does not stir any strong emotions; perhaps, that is why it was designed that way.


The towns and villages in the occupied territories were deserted. However, even those that were empty remained untouched for a while. Not for very long though. Until they found themselves in the clutches of the power of the collective "King Nushirvan", from The Treasury of Mysteries. Almost 30 years of the looting-based economy have turned a flourishing region into an endless and gloomy landscape of ruins. Almost certainly the owls in “The Story of Nushirvan and his Vizier” could only dream of such a thing. And it is likely that one of the owls still received a rich dowry for her daughter. A dowry of a hundred thousand ruins. A hundred thousand ruins and a hundred thousand mines...

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