Cosmic Solitude

Cosmic Solitude is a photographic exploration of solitude and isolation, in what was probably the largest cosmic ray research station during the soviet time.
The project documents the banal daily routine of the last three employees at the station, 3300 meters above sea level in Armenia, where the snow covers the ground two-thirds of the year. Isolation & solitude is what these two scientists and their cook experience in a place that once, employed over 100 scientists and buzzed with life.

Established in 1943 under Soviet rule, it studies issues in astroparticle physics, solar-terrestrial connections, space weather, and geophysics. After the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent independence of the country in 1991, it was a time of important political and social changes for the country. The collapse in the country’s economic situation, five years of war, and the introduction of technology to replace manual labor have created desolate industrial spaces, once thriving with employees. These spaces are the symbolic and visual aftermath of economic and political conflict and transition, the aftermath that is largely invisible and disregarded by the outside world, but which exists as living proof of a bygone era.
Here, at the station, totally isolated from society, 70-year-old Artash Petrosyan has been working as a cook for 32 years. Now he cooks for 3, instead of 100. Here, where the average winter temperature is -15 degrees Celsius, the days pass slowly for the two young laboratory assistants, as well. Karen Asatryan(26) has been working at the station for the last 8 years, while Edik Arshakyan(44) joined the team recently. They have one-month shifts to maintain the station 24 hours/day, year-round, year after year, wondering if one day they might find themselves like the old man who spent half of his life here.

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