Video, stereo sound. 7 mins. 2022
Stereo sound. Please watch using headphones.
ærystıьla, written in the former script for the Sahka language (transliterated as Örüstyla), translates as ‘language of the river’. al-yené grew up in a village three hours flight from Yakutsk, nestled on the northern edges of the Kolyma River, the largest river system underlain with continuous permafrost. As with many of these remote villages and their surrounding Yakutian landscapes, it now slips from clarity in the collective imagination as its inhabitants move to the cities.
Drawing connections between the land, Sakha language, personal memories and practice of social relations with animate and inanimate beings, the work evokes the inseparability of the environment from both one’s consciousness and body. Through seeking a practice of reworlding, it becomes an act of reclaiming animistic cosmologies of previous generations along with the voice and the written script.
The video work uses historical references to the former Sakha writing system based on the Latin alphabet, with imagery borrowed from a 1919 primary school textbook. The script was used only for a short time in the early 20th century; by the early 1940s, the Soviet Union had officially transferred more than 100 languages spoken across the country to the Cyrillic alphabet, suppressing the differences between cultures. al-yené re-enlivens the disappearing landscapes of Yakutia with the poetic, precariously remembered remnants of the script.
For the project, al-yené has commissioned a program that can be used to transcribe Cyrillic Sakha into Novgorodov script, it is available here.
Voices: Maria Savvina, Venzel Vera
Sound design: Karina Kazaryan aka KP Transmission
al-yené is an artist born and raised in the Sakha republic. She works across different media, but mostly with video and poetry. Circling from the understanding that one’s consciousness and body are inseparable from the environment, the shifting of the land resonates with the broken voice. Walking through the ruins in synchronicity of internal and external , one hand receives and another gives, weaving together personal, cultural, and ecological histories, memories, and dreams.