Тоодо эмес, же ойдо эмес
Neither on the Mountain, nor in the Field
Digital HD, color & black & white, 15 min. (2022)
Funded by the
Canada Council for the Arts
Guided by what Anibal Quijano and other defenders of the “decolonial option” have written, I have attempted to epistemologically “decolonize” my approach by creating an interchange of experiences and meanings between a group of Pamir Kyrgyz nomads who recently left their Afghan “roof of the world,” a Kyrgyz village inhabitant “neither on the mountain, nor in the field,” and myself, between village, capital city, and the West. Since language and media is always a part of knowledge, I chose to respond to what the Pamir Kyrgyz chose to bring with them: footage shot with a small Sony camera bought in Kabul. This footage was their archive, documenting their traditional life-style. The footage was also to be used as a non-verbal medium of communication between them. Because there was no written language at their disposal, video communication was the only way to “write” to each other (often members of the same family), between those, tracked in the high ranges of the Pamir during the “Great Game” opposing the British and the Russian Empires in the late 19th – early 20th centuries, and those who escaped to China or Turkey in later times. I chose to respond with a film, composed over the years, and which took the form of a conversation between their “archive,” my own footage documenting their coming to Kyrgyzstan in 2017, and footage that I shot in the village where I lived until 2002. I have focused on two types of work, the physical work of my brother and my own work—the editing of all this footage—and documenting what both of us experience in very different time zones and places.