Since 2003 Hayk Bianjyan (b. 1977) has been documenting the violation of property rights in Yerevan. With a camera in his hands, he tries to preserve the architecturally and historically significant structures in Yerevan, Armenia’s 2,797-year-old capital.
The series 'CIAO USSR' are photos taken by Bianjyan, showing not only what has happened to the famous buildings and monuments of Yerevan in the Soviet era over the past decade, but also a number of objects from everyday life.
Hayk Bianjyan says that his work is for all citizens of Yerevan and that each photo serves as an attempt to preserve the good memories.
“I want to open a “museum of memories” since memories are a very important thing in a person’s life. When I look at the archives, I realize that people built those buildings with joy and excitement, meaning it would be very wrong to erase that from the memory of people of Yerevan. The film can’t be edited.
Bianjyan’s photographs are part of his larger, ongoing documentary and archiving project that includes audio interviews, video, historical photographs, and personal objects and architectural details salvaged from the destructed homes. His short documentary, “Disappearing Memories,” has been screened in Armenia, Georgia and Canada; it chronicles the layering of what is now Northern Avenue over a historic neighbourhood in the heart of Yerevan. He has a growing archive of photographs and other ephemera left behind by the inhabitants of these spaces, and dreams of someday displaying them in a fixed space where one can go and experience what he believes was the golden age of Yerevan.