stories

Qhapaq Ñan

A landscape between every step. In that space a white hole opens up that turns off with the click of the camera. Between every shot the space fills up with life again and creates that eternity that each photo breaks. A hidden voice can be heard that only the musician can interpret. I follow him as he chases after that vibrating sound that comes from the ground; we go up a path of footprints that seem invisible as he vanishes in the clouds. There is silence in the images; I strike the camera against the ground to record the laughter of the old devils who have gathered around me. They laugh at my profession and my poor hearing. Human rhythm and time have disappeared, now it is the slow pulse of the mountain range that guides the spirits along the edge a dry-stone road. I watch with one eye and give my hand to the chaski who came back to help me through the portal. The Indian’s dry, cold skin has no life to it but I can feel it’s friendly. We approach the circle of music; singers in silence listen to that blue-eyed man. It is the end of his vidala, and the last cry lingers on until all his throat is exposed.

 

Qhapaq Ñan as "The path of the Inca"; it is in reality way more than that: a whole network of routes and paths that expands over 6 countries of South America. On 2014,UNESCO declared under this denomination (a translation from Quechua "Main route"), as cultural itinerary and world patrimony, the system of Andean paths, from Ecuador to Chile. It is a system that was utilised by the Incas during the cultural expansion of their Empire, until the arrival of the Spanish Conquest. There are certain portions of original routes, over 22.500 kilometres (Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina) that are still being utilised nowadays by the local populations to travel through hard access areas, some of which are placed at 5000 metres over the sea level. This first photo reportage tries to travel the path on reverse, since the journey starts on the southern point of the Qhapaq Ñan: from Mendoza, Argentina to Tiwanaku, Bolivia. The images seek to show traces, the visible ones and those that are merely perceptible, of ancient events that are over 2000 years-old.

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