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Feb 06 2008

Le blog Transformation of space in Almaty

Filed under: Aminatou, Daniel, Zhanara, Gaisha, The Exhibit

Ce blog a été actif aux mois de Juin, juillet, août et septembre 2007.

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Il présente le “work in Progress” de notre travail en résidence au Centre d’Art Contemporain Soros de Almaty. Nous avons travaillé autour de la transformation de l’espace urbain à Almaty.

Artpologist est un collectif d’artistes composé du peintre Daniel Gallegos, de la photographe Gaisha Madanova, de l’anthropologue Zhanara Nauruzbaieva et de la vidéaste Aminatou Echard.
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Les catégories fonctionnent par auteur, mais aussi par type de média. Il faut cliquer sur un titre pour accéder à l’ensemble du texte et/ou des images. La page Help apporte une aide supplémentaire à la navigation, si besoin.
La page about us présente le collectif Artpologist tandis que la page The Exhibit présente les travaux réalisés pour l’exposition finale.

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L’exposition a été présentée par la suite à Berkeley en novembre 2007 à la Worth Ryder Gallery pour le symposium Out of time space et en décembre 2007 à la galerie Silk Road House.

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chevalet artiste
Jan 01 2008

2008

Filed under: Daily life

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Je vous souhaite
I wish you
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une

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+++++++++++++++ NOUVELLE ANNEE +++++++++++++++
p a s s i o n n é e
amoureuse
riche
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HAPPY NEW YEAR FELIZ ANO NUEVO страстном году
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A bientôt !
bises, Aminatou.
Oct 05 2007

Framboises et notes de voyage, de retour à Paris

Filed under: Aminatou, Video Gallery, Sound Gallery, Texts Collection

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Je suis revenue à la maison. Cette année j’ai manqué à ma tradition d’anecdotes collectives, où l’on pouvait suivre à la trace mes avancées. Le temps m’a pris d’assaut. Après Almaty j’avais besoin de grand espace, d’être loin des klaxons, moteurs de voitures, pelleteuse, scies, marteaux, chantiers, besoin de marcher, d’écouter le vent dans les feuilles et de m’asseoir sur un banc pour regarder les passants et les feuilles voler.
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A Jalal-Abad j’ai adopté une belle allée du parc de la ville. Je m’y suis arrêtée plusieurs fois pour regarder et discuter aussi. Le deuxième jour, un jeune homme s’approche de moi, il est avec sa femme qui tient son bébé dans ses bras, il a l’air inquiet et il veut me parler, il me dit « Tu sais où dormir ? Hier je t’ai vu ici, le matin et le soir encore, et aujourd’hui tu es là, tu as une maison ? Chez qui tu dors ? » Je le rassure, oui j’ai bien un endroit où dormir, je me promène, il me donne quand même son adresse, me dit que je peux venir quand je veux si je ne sais pas où aller et il s’en va. Bon, c’est vrai qu’avec mes pauvres vêtements usés je suis loin de ressembler aux autres étrangers de passage. Je n’ai pas les chaussures de marche, pas de sac à dos eastpack, pas de lunettes de soleil, pas d’appareil photo, et ma caméra est rangé dans un sac de bazar blanc sali par la terre.
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Avant encore, et entre moments de boulot, il y a eu Aralsk. J’y suis arrivée le soir, vers 22h, on avait réussi à trouver quelqu’un pour venir me chercher à la gare, et c’est devant l’unique vieil hôtel soviétique que l’on m’a déposé, me recommandant de m’enfermer dans ma chambre sans me promener. Il faisait chaud, les ados étaient dans la rue de l’hôtel, centre ville, à rigoler, en sandale, dans le sable. Le sable était encore chaud de l’après midi, le vent faisait voler les tentures des portes et fenêtre. Une ville de bord de mer. J’avais oublié où j’étais arrivée. Le matin, la rue était large, vide, le verre éclaté des bouteilles de bière bruissait sous mes pas. Le sable en dessous. Le vent en permanence, la terre dans les yeux et le soleil haut et chaud. J’ai vu la mer aussi. Pas dans le port du bout de la rue. A quatre heures de 4/4 d’Aralsk. J’étais si proche que je ne pouvais pas la manquer, ne serait-ce que par curiosité, parce que j’étais là. C’était une raison stupide. Je cherchais aussi de la vie, la force d’une mer, peut-être un peu de verdure dans ce désert. Or il n’y a plus de mouvements dans la mer. Les deux canadiennes qui étaient avec moi, à peine descendue de la voiture se sont assises face à la mer et dos aux pêcheurs et bouteilles de bière vide, et sans se parler elles ont attendu. Le chauffeur s’est baigné. Les pêcheurs se sont partagé des morceaux de poissons à chair rouge vif, tout en buvant des bières, des poissons qui avaient l’air déjà si vieux. J’ai filmé un peu, deux bobines, automatiques, je ne pouvais pas rester sans rien faire, pourtant, qu’est-ce que je faisais bien là ? Et puis le chauffeur nous a dit, ça y est ? On peut y aller ? Vous avez vu ? Voir ? Qu’est-ce qu’on a vu ? Des pêcheurs sont repartis dans leurs barques, ils ont le visage marqués et noirci par le soleil, avec des habits durcis par le sel et la terre. Nous n’avons pas parlé de tout le retour. Cette journée là, sur la route, on s’est arrêté beaucoup de fois chez des amis du chauffeur. Chez l’un de ses amis, j’ai enregistré les chameaux
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C’est après que je suis arrivée au Kirghistan. Le paradis à côté, même si… Mais un peu de douceurs ne fait pas de mal. A Karakol, j’ai commencé à m’asseoir sur des bancs dans le parc de la ville. Ou sur des souches d’arbres. Derrière moi les jeux et manège, et jamais loin de moi les autres bancs ou souches sur lesquels les jeunes et les vieux s’assoient, longuement aussi. J’ai un peu amélioré mon russe. J’avais aussi mon cahier sur les genoux, même si je n’écrivais pas tout le temps, simplement je regardais avec plaisir chaque mouvement. Une jolie fille arrive, plus éclatante que les autres jeunes kirghizes, elle contourne ma souche et passe derrière moi, tandis que j’écris sur mon cahier « une jolie fille passe » Je lève la tête et me tourne, je croise son regard, avec un grand sourire elle me dit quelque chose en kirghize, je lui réponds en russe que je ne parle pas du tout kirghize, mais un petit peu russe, elle me répond en français « qu’est-ce que vous écrivez ? » Etonnée par cette première question inhabituelle, je lui réponds « j’écris ce qui me passe par la tête et sous les yeux, comme ça vient » et puis on a parlé un peu, en français, elle me dit qu’elle avec son ami, « pas son petit copain », elle a un grand sourire, les cheveux lâches, une jupe longue rose, elle resplendissante, elle est une belle personne, simplement sa beauté sans autre pensée m’apparaissait. Son ami la rejoint enfin, elle lui raconte en kirghize, et il lui répond, elle me traduit brièvement ce que son ami vient de lui dire par « de loin, un pêcheur reconnaît un autre pêcheur » Puis on s’est dit au revoir et ils ont continué leur ballade tous les deux, tandis que les dames qui balaient les parcs arrivaient à ma hauteur, les feuilles s’amassaient en tas, puis elles m’ont fait me déplacer, un homme a mis le feu au tas de feuilles mortes, et j’ai terminé ma journée par quelques leçons de russe.
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A présent, je suis sous le ciel de Paris, fini les melons fins et sucrés, les framboises, les lipiochkas chaudes sorties du four, Daniel et Zhanara sont maintenant à San Francisco et Gaisha est resté dans sa ville, Almaty.
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Artpologist a cependant bien d’autres idées en tête, affaires à suivre…

Sep 28 2007

Images of the Exhibit “Transformation of space in Almaty”

Filed under: Aminatou, Daniel, Zhanara, Gaisha, Photo Gallery, Paintings and drawings, Press, The Exhibit

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Ca y est, des images et des mots de l’exposition sont en ligne, ICI !

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You can now see some images of the exhibit, HERE !

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Sep 27 2007

Trois installations vidéo pour un ensemble – Aminatou Echard

Filed under: Aminatou, Texts Collection, The Exhibit

“Le veilleur”, portrait de Gyorgii Tryakin-Bukharov, boucle de 12’

-Au 2ème étage-
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Les murs de la pièce sont occupés par des toiles et des dessins de Daniel, j’imaginais la projection dans la continuité, le seul élément perturbant l’espace étant l’installation de Gyorgii (il ne pouvait pas y avoir de téléviseur dans cette pièce). Il s’agit d’un double écran. Les deux bandes se répondent, ou se provoquent, par jeu de rythme et de texture.
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Dans l’atelier de Gyorgii, côte à côte se trouvent des éléments de sa palette, des oeuvres en cours et des oeuvres terminées. A l’arrière de la maison, des troncs, une carcasse de voiture, du métal, des ressorts, de la pierre, du sable ; Il a glissé des troncs à l’intérieur de la carcasse de voiture. Il ramène chez lui des objets trouvés dans son quartier ; Tout cela forme sa palette, et tout est entreposé dans la circulaire autour de sa maison. Parfois c’est là depuis si longtemps que se sont mêlés le sable et le bois, la pierre et le sable, le métal et la pierre, et les couleurs. Les choses sont grandes, volumineuses ; leurs masses imposantes. J’ai tenté de capter quelque chose de sa relation avec son espace, et de celle avec ses objets. Il y a quelque chose d’entier, de mouvant et de charnel.
Pour ce travail, Je voulais faire intervenir Gyorgii autrement que comme simple personnage. Il a été d’accord de suite pour participer à l’exposition avec une installation. Le point de départ était nécessairement sa maison et son quartier – c’est là qu’il trouve les éléments de sa palette. Puis il a apporté l’installation, réduite, au centre d’art contemporain. Des éléments de ma vidéo font écho à certains éléments de l’installation, et son espace de travail relie les deux. Entre les deux, la ville et les éléments du quotidien de nos vies. Les palissades en métal blanc font toujours partie du paysage. Les affiches de la future mégapole font écho à la tête arrachée de la poupée rose aux cheveux verts. La terre est omniprésente bien qu’elle se fonde dans le métal, la pierre, le bois, le plastique.
Puis, dans le travail élaboré avec Daniel, nous avons tenté de créer des passerelles entre projection vidéo et peintures. Daniel a travaillé à partir de séquences et de photogrammes tirés des deux bandes vidéos pour peindre les toiles et les dessins présentés dans l’exposition.

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“Bleu”, 59’20’’, for 3 screens and 3 soundtracks, 3 DVD – each one in loop.

-Au Sous sol-
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Trois bandes vidéo : trois voix. Les trois téléviseurs sont sur le sol, on est assis sur un matelas, de ces matelas centre-asiatique qui servent aussi bien de banc pour les invités autour d’une table basse que de couche pour la nuit. On est proche des écrans, on pourrait les toucher, et le son de chaque téléviseur enveloppe le spectateur. Les trois bandes sons se mêlent, s’entendent ou s’affrontent. On est parfois dérangé par un son qui devance les autres, on hésite sur sa provenance –à quelle image il appartient. La voix de gauche porte la ville. Les espaces vastes, en construction ou bien simplement la vie de quartier. Parfois brutal, ces plans dans leur durée font ressortir le son, toujours direct et soit trop silencieux soit trop bruyant. Les ouvriers de chantier sont omniprésents.
Les deux autres voix portent la présence de Galim Madanov. Il travaille dans son atelier sur une partie d’un tableau. L’atelier a été aménagé dans une pièce de leur appartement ; Zauresh sa femme, et Gaisha sa fille font partie de ce quotidien du travail. De ces personnages se dégagent des mouvements, des rythmes, des présences. Galim, concentré, retient ses mouvements. Il n’a pas beaucoup d’espace pour travailler, il se heurte aux choses, bruits de heurts rompant le silence, sa respiration. L’immobilité est ponctuée par la répétition de micro mouvements, qui contiennent rapidement une intensité qui dépasse l’amplitude de ses mouvements. Variations du quotidien.
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De même que pour Gyorgii, j’ai voulu filmer son travail pour un tableau qu’il réalisait spécialement pour l’exposition. J’ai aussi beaucoup parcouru et filmé le quartier où Galim vit depuis plus de 15 ans « Mamyr’s ». Il vit dans un vieil immeuble –d’avant 1990, bas et gris, avec des arbres au pied, tandis que les nouveaux immeubles en construction, des tours bleues, commencent à fleurir de partout. Maintenant, le bleu remplace le rouge, m’a dit Zhanara.
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La voix Ville n’a pas la même durée que les autres, 19 minutes contre 14 minutes. Chaque bande tourne en boucle. La voix Ville ne change pas de composition, tandis qu’à chaque reprise des deux autres voix on reconnaît des micro variantes (durée totale de la pièce : 59’20’’). En revanche, avec une durée plus longue, la voix Ville bouscule sans cesse les deux autres voix et les associations d’images et d’atmosphères sonores qui en résultent. La ville mange d’abord l’espace intérieur, tandis que peu à peu des relations se tissent entre intérieur et extérieur. Je sens plus cette installation comme un travail sur la relation entre le temps, le travail et l’espace que comme un seul portrait de Galim Madanov.
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Dragon“, Boucle de 3’30’’

-Au 1er étage, l’étage central-
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La salle de l’étage du milieu est vaste, et tout le travail dans cette pièce est accroché au mur. Posé au sol, un petit téléviseur noir. Le son rempli l’espace, tantôt silencieux avec une petite musique de haut parleur de ville, tantôt empli par les rires et les cris de joie et de peur mêlés.
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Déplacement des sons dans l’espace.
Le centre d’art contemporain d’almaty est sur trois niveaux, avec un escalier central. Chaque pièce donne sur l’espace de l’escalier. Lorsque chaque installation est en marche, les sons de chacune se rencontrent dans l’escalier. A l’étage central, ce petit téléviseur posé sur le sol qui tourne en boucle Dragon a un niveau sonore assez bas. De l’étage d’en dessous « basement » parviennent -mêlées déjà- les trois bandes sons des trois téléviseurs de Bleu. La rumeur de la ville et des travaux, puis la musique de Galim, et enfin le dragon encore car il appartient aussi à Bleu. Alors parfois le dragon du haut interfère et s’installe, perturbant le temps de Bleu, reliant le basement et le 1er étage. Au 2ème étage, la musique du basement est seule à parvenir. Lorsque, depuis le 2ème étage, le marteau du veilleur perce et descend l’escalier, qu’il se mêle au dragon, à la musique ou à la ville, les temps de ces espaces se retrouvent et des chemins se forment. J’aime écouter les sons qui se déplacent dans l’espace, entendre la voix du veilleur se mêler à la musique de bleu, puis leur associer de nouvelles images, celles des dessins de Daniel, des photos de Gaisha, du rouge de Daniel, des mots de Zhanara ; ou bien leur faire retrouver l’image vidéo qui leur correspond. Dans Bleu, une des trois bandes –la ville– n’a pas la même durée que les autres : les événements sonores et les rencontres dans l’espace sont ainsi toujours en mouvement. Alors l’ensemble de ces sons crée un nouvel espace que l’on ne peut restreindre à la seule association d’avec leur image vidéo.
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Voir l’exposition

Sep 23 2007

On-line articles about the Almaty exhibit / articles presse

Filed under: Press, The Exhibit

The magazine “Эксперт-Казахстан” (RUS)
“Жизненное пространство художника”

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The newspaper “Время”, 16 August 2007 (RUS)
“Проверочный диктат”
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“Savage Minds”, an anthropology web-log (ENG)
“Artpology” in Almaty

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“Kazakhstan Neweurasia” web-log (ENG)
“Transformation of Space in Almaty: Interview”

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Интернет-газета “Zonakz.net” (RUS)

“Понимание глобальных проблем на уровне микромира”

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“The Power of Culture” newsletter - September 2007 (ENG)

“Artists and the new urban aesthetic in Almaty”

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Журнал “Континент” (RUS)
“ВЫСТАВКИ: Трансформация одной выставки”

Sep 03 2007

Daniel Notes - Work in Progress

Filed under: Daniel

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Moving and Traveling…

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We’re going to Astana for a week. The First International Symposium of Artists in Astana. This should be interesting. We have to take the train for around a day and a half from Almaty to get there.

We’ve moved from our place and now we’re staying in our friends house while they’re out of town. I took their dog down to a little trail near a river. It sort of reminded me of being a kid and walking my dog. I would really like to have a dog if I could. Maybe when we go back to the Bay Area

Today, we’re going to meet some the artists to discuss our project. This has to be done quickly because we leave tomorrow.

The tomatoes are getting really good here in Almaty. Some of the best I’ve ever tasted outside of Mexico. I made a little stir fry for Aminatou and Zhanara. I think they really liked it. It feels good to make them happy through food. Maybe it’s the Chez Panisse in me.

As for art I’m working on some ideas for the project. I’m still not sure what will come out of this. I will know more when I return from Astana. I plan to think about it during the train ride. I also have to figure out my artwork in Astana. I’m supposed to do something outside and probably with spray paint!?

Oh, today we met Eve Sussman. She’s an artists who does installation work with video. She is visiting Kazakhstan with two of her friends Claudia and Jeff. They may work on a project here. We took them out for Shashlyk at our favorite restaurant in town.

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Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Speaking of cities in transition

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I am in Astana at the 1st International Symposium of Artists.

It took us a day and a half by train from Almaty to reach the capital of Kazakhstan. Along the way I saw some remarkable sights. My favorite part of the train ride was when we passed Lake Balkash. I saw gulls flying around the lake and they made me miss the Pacific Ocean. Something interesting about the north is how a lot of this area is marshland.


When you`re in the city of Astana, you can see pockets of water and water plants. Lilly pads and dragonflies are abundant in these marshes as well as many species of water birds.

We`ve been meeting all sorts of different artists during this symposium. We`ve met a great deal of locals as well. I wasn`t really expecting to meet many people from Astana. I imagined all of them being pushed out. I`ve met many locals who live in the city and are first hand witnesses of one of the largest building projects in the world..

Many of these large open spaces that everyone talks about when Astana is mentioned are amazingly filled with the locals. Often you see families and couples strolling along the newly built plazas and promenades. I?m sure if this was the U.S.A. many of these places would be empty.

So, many of my expectations about this city have been changed. I imagined this city to be a cold dreary landscape. I have found Astana to be quite interesting for a new city. I couldn`t help but compare it to a typical city in America. My best comparison is very modern Salt Lake City. One of the things this city has going for it is the constant building for urban entertainment. You can really get a good lesson here about how cities can be built at a massive scale.


Astana is still a very small city. It?s surprising because the city itself looks massive with the eclectic rooftops on the buildings that give an illusion of a large skyline. Within 10 minutes drive you can be in the middle of the step in those marshy wetlands.

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Moving and moving

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After getting kicked out of our apartment we scrambled around to find a place to stay. Well for the last two weeks we’ve been able to stay in our friends house while they’re away. They’ve just returned and now we’ve made our move to our new temporary home. Zhanara and I spent the day cleaning the floors and getting it organized. We listened to Bjork’s Drawing Restraint album while we cleaned. The Will Oldham track is my favorite.

It started to rain this afternoon. It has been quite hot the last two days so it is a welcome relief.

A nice thing is that we(Gaisha, Zhanara, Aminatou, and myself) had a talk about some of our ideas with the gallery space. We agreed on some ideas that we will keep in mind as we work towards the show.

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Friday, July 13th, 2007

Hanging Out with Saule and Kuanish

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Gaisha and I went to see Saule Suliemenova and Kuanish Bazagaliev These two artists are part of the middle generation of artists who were the youngest of the Perestroika art groups from the 1990’s here in Kazakhstan. These two have made pretty big names for themselves here and abroad. Most of their work is painting (Saule uses acrylic over wax on paper, Kuanish uses acrylic on canvas). By the way if you ever have a chance to drink a bottle of vodka with Kuanish and he’s willing to break out the guitar, he will sing you a great punk song from his past.


Today, Gaisha and I sat and talked about their art studio. It is located next to their apartment. They are working at all hours of the day so it is convenient for them to have such a place. They were very lucky to have the money to buy the small apartment next door when the price of apartments weren’t so inflated as they are today.


As the four of us talked about their studio, Gaisha and I took photos and then we sat down to look at their own photo collection. Many of the photos were of different impromptu parties that had happened over the years in their apartment and studio. You can see the changes that the studio has gone through over years. Kuanish is very handy with tools and he’s transformed the space into a more convenient space for the two of them. Saule told me that when he did the major renovations on the apartment, it was during the time she was having her second child around 6 years ago. She said that he took out the kitchen to make more room to paint and he ruined her favorite kitchen knife in the process.


As we continued looking through the boxes of photos we started to find the oldest of the collection. Suddenly you see a change in the way the photos are processed. Gaisha says that many of the older Soviet photos seem like scenes from movies. I agreed. Many of the photos became black and white. Many of them look like photos from the 1950’s or 1960’s by U.S. standards. But, Kuanish and Saule are in their 30’s, they would not be alive until the late 1960’s and they would be babies! Many of the photos depict them in the style of beatniks or hippies. Tight fitting sweaters, messy hair and horn-rimmed glasses seemed to be the fashion for many of these young artists. In Kuanish’s photos you often see his friend and fellow artist Marat Bekeyev along with him. These photos are golden. I remind myself that things have changed a lot around here over the last 15 years. Most particularly the material conditions like photo development had not changed much until the 90’s. Kuanish says most people did their own development with home dark rooms being quite common in those days. If you look at people’s photo collections you can see a drastic change not only in the way people dress but in the development and printing of photographs. Today almost everyone in Almaty has their photos developed in a digital photo studio. This put a lot of photographers out of work because up until a few years ago it wasn’t really convenient to take photos unless you knew how to develop them as well. Often you see old photographers around town taking pictures of people in the parks and plazas around Almaty. These are the guys who would take all those wonderful old looking photos. Now they barely have any work.

spacer.jpgFor the rest of the afternoon Kuanish, Saule, Gaisha, and I spent our time looking through photos enjoying the feeling of jumping back and forth through time and learning a little about being an artist in Almaty. Along with our little journey of looking at the photos we were treated to many stories that went along with them.

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Saturday, July 14th, 2007

Almaty=Expensive

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Leila at New Eurasia.net posted some stats on the cost of living in Almaty recently. She compares the cost of living to Los Angeles in this article.

Mercer Human Resources Consulting released its 2007 Cost of Living Survey:

Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

Moscow tops the list second year in a row, and is followed by four other most expensive cities: London, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Apart from Moscow and Kiev, another city in post-Soviet area that is in the list is Almaty. It made its surprising jump to the top, from 52nd place in 2006 to 30th place in 2007.

So, Almaty turns out to be more expensive than Istanbul (38), Frankfurt (40), Los Angeles (42), Luxembourg (43), Brussels (44), Berlin (45) and Prague (49).

http://kazakhstan.neweurasia.net/2007/06/22/almaty-more-expensive-than-los-angeles/

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Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Cities and the Wealth of Nations-Jane Jacobs

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Jane Jacobs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Jacobs died last year but her love for cities gave many people around the world a better understanding about how they are born, live and often times die.

Jane was an activist that almost single handedly started the urban preservationist movement in America.

She favored neighborhoods and opposed expressways and freeways. She was opposed to large scale urban renewal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_renewal projects that often harm urban communities, by bulldozing houses in favor of large freeways and expressways that make cars have easy access into suburban sprawl.

If you love your city and you often wonder why and how they work, please read a book by Jane Jacobs.

Click on the Wiki links above to find out more about her.

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Saturday, August 4th, 2007

coffee and granola.

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Zhanara woke me up this morning to coffee and granola. Afterwards, she says we have ten days till the opening. This comment really woke me up.

For the last few weeks I’ve been busy trying to put together this show non-stop. I’ve hardly left the house for the last 3 weeks! I wake up in the morning and have coffee and breakfast and I start work on my paintings and drawings. Zhanara is running around doing her fieldwork for the project among various things. Aminatou has been trying to spend as much time as she can with her subjects to find the footage that will make her installations work just right. Gaisha is busy taking photos and finding the right ones for her installation as well. We’ve all been trying to take the time out to talk to each other at least once a day. We are now a collective living together and practicing our combined effort of art and anthropology.

A lot has been happening for me in the realm of art this last year. But, my work has been developing at a faster pace now that I’ve been working with the Artpologist project. I’m really enjoying my work but I’m stressing out a little that it won’t be strong enough. There’s a balance between doing art for yourself and art for a project.

It’s morning here just before 9 a.m. and it’s time for me to start working.

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Work In Progress

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My work is moving along. It’s all so strange sometimes how you are able to do artwork. It’s not really something mechanical although it can be when you really want to work that way. When I don’t feel like working on a painting it’s best for me to stay away from it, because I will more than likely ruin it.

For the last week I’ve been working on five oil paintings about Georgii Tryakin-Bukharov’s studio. It’s been really interesting and a great learning experience. I’m working with stills from Aminatou’s video and finding things in her work that seem to be very similar to the work that I am doing.

It’s so interesting to me to think that much of my work is based on “new media” such as video, electronic devices and video games. I’m old enough to remember playing on the first Atari Pong game. So it’s interesting to me to see that many influences in my paintings are based on the way you see things through a certain lens. In my case a lens configured through electronic devices and video screens growing up in California. It’s fascinating to think really that growing up during the 80’s I really got a chance to see the early days of video games, computers and hand held electronic devices and not to mention all those really cool illustration works on the sides of the games(The Bally pinball and video game company had some of the greatest illustration work. Who could forget the Centipede illustrations! At the local video arcade.

Before I go too far off track let me return to Central Asia (more specifically Almaty) and talk a little bit about my work thus far. I’m working off these video stills from Aminatou’s work and things are developing along more interesting than I would have imagined. I’m working on images I would have normally stayed away from. I’m surprised about the direction of my work. That’s the thrilling thing about doing art for me. I never really know what things will look like in the end. When I start to paint or draw I start with a photo and then progress along until it becomes some sort of meditative work that goes along with feeling the surface, media and image to make something that comes out of me. Working with the images I have of the artists studios I’ve been finding some new things about my art that I find that may take me in directions I wouldn’t have imagined. I suppose that’s one of the good things about working on art projects. It gives you a structure and framework to push yourself to do things that I perhaps wouldn’t have bothered to do. So, I’m grateful for being part of this project in many ways.

I have to say Zhanara is really doing a lot of work for the “collective”. She’s been doing a lot of running around helping with various things related to the project. She’s doing a lot of the shopping too so we can eat. I on the other hand have rarely left the house during these last 3 weeks. So, I have to thank her for being so dedicated.

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Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Young Pioneers and Their Palaces

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Has anyone been to the Palace of Pioneers on Lenina St.? This was the place where the Young Pioneers organization operated during the end of the Soviet Union here in Almaty.

The Young Pioneers are the Soviet equivalent to Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations in the west. For many people who grew up during the Soviet Union, this was the organization and the place to learn arts, crafts, trade skills, or to aid in career development and to become a junior member of the communist party.

Today these places are merely empty palaces that serve various functions like expositions and parties. But during former times these places were for the development of a model Soviet citizen.

During the October 17th Revolution many of the scouts sided with the White army. The scouts were eventually killed off or they left the Soviet Union.

Vladamir Lenin’s wife Nadezhda Krupskaya headed the opening of the communist pioneer organizations to further the aid of the development of children in the new Soviet State.

If you enter the palace on Lenina St. today it is more than likely empty. But if you ask the doorman you can walk around the large halls that were built in Mayor Kunaev’s grand scale. Judging from all of the attention to detail in the construction of the palace, you can see that this was a celebration of the young communist youth. It seems as if no dime was spared to provide a place for children to go and learn a little more about themselves and the society they lived in. It’s all so sad now to walk where very few children go to today. But you can almost hear the echoes of all of the kids who must have been in awe over the grand scale of this palace. The palaces are sort of a take on churches and they have a cathedral quality to them.


The Palace of Pioneers have an interesting origin. Many of the Tsarist palaces in Russia were taken over by the state and eventually handed over to the Young Pioneers to become palaces for the children.


Although they no longer operate in the same capacity in most former Soviet Republics, Pioneer Palaces still operate in countries like Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam.

I am calling attention to this cultural landmark in the city because there have been rumors that this building will be knocked down. It would be such a shame to lose an interesting piece of architecture and a piece of cultural history to our lovely city. One of these Pioneer Palaces has already been torn down here. So many pieces of Almaty’s architectural history is disappearing daily.

You often see this building in images of Almaty. This building is an architectural icon that represents a unique period of time and I would imagine it has given many fond memories of childhood for the people who live and grew up here during more simple times.

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Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Bota, and working on the gallery.

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I have finished my work (I prefer to keep working until the very last minute so I can decide what I want to use and not use for the exhibit) a few days back. We all started to clean up the gallery to make it better for us to install the works. This is the final stage for us. We have to make sure that the space is a cohesive whole so this takes a little time. We have to “feel” the space in order to understand how to best place out works in the gallery. It’s very important for the viewers to understand what we are doing. So we want to maximize the impact of our work by working with the space and installing the work with this thought in mind.


The weather has been nice as ever here. Almaty’s dry hot heat is something distinct really. So far this summer, when it does get too hot the rains come to cool off the city. You can see the mountains gain a fresh dusting of snow!


Today I gave a painting to Zhanara’s friend and helper Bota Yergaliyeva as a thank you gift for all of the work she’s done for the Artpologist collective. She is the hidden hero in our project. I let her choose one out of two of my first paintings. She chose a painting of the building Zhanara lived in. I told her that this would be a good choice because the building is of her neighborhood and it is something sentimental because we have a connection through this image. We still owe so much to her and I can’t imagine how we would have ever been able to do this project without her.

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Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

The Day After the Opening

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I am sitting on a mattress in the ground floor gallery of the the Soros Center for Contemporary Art


I was thinking about how we conclude the artpologist project. There are some things, many things really that can always be done better if you had more time. What I most regret is that we didn’t have enough time to do all that you wish to do on an exhibit or project. But this is always the case when it comes to doing creative projects with a deadline. There are many processes that go into making such a collaborative effort, when it comes to the time to show your work in the exhibit, you have to learn to let go of your work and assess what you’ve done and decide where and how you will present the art in a gallery setting. There were many pieces that I had intended on showing in the exhibit but when it came time to decide where these would go in the gallery, I felt that they would not belong well in this space. There’s something about the space really that you always have to think about when you’re doing your site specific art. When you do installations in galleries it’s always something you have to consider. How will it look in the light, or on the wall, or perhaps next to other art objects in the exhibit? So, when I was ready to hang my work in the space, I talked with Gaisha, Zhanara, and Aminatou to ask them what they thought of the works and how and where I should hang them. This in turn made the installation stronger since it was a group effort.


The day of the opening we woke up in the gallery and had our breakfast and we talked about all of the last things we needed to do. We raced around the gallery trying to complete the finishing touches on the space. This is the time you start to let go of your creation. It has become our “baby” for the last two months and now you let it grow up.


When the opening happened, many people came to visit including the Ambassador from India. Many of my heroes here in the art world came too like Rustam Khalfin. Also the artists/subjects, that we studied came and it was like a great gathering of many different artists and minds in one place to celebrate for a moment the achievements of our art and the city of Almaty in the backyard of the new Soros Center here in Luxor.


There were many questions from the media and I realized from the questions asked that I have been completely immersed in the culture of Almaty for the last year. I had my opinions and answers of many things asked by reporters but it’s always important to tell the story in the best possible way in interviews because they almost always become contorted and perhaps even go against what I work so hard for.


Many of the people who came where happy and gave us compliments about our work. Since the work was so conceptual, and currating a show was our first time as a collective, we hoped to get our point across as best as we could. I think most people understand what we do, and with all of the work we’ve done I think many people appreciate that lots of effort went into best describing how art and anthropology fits best for the project for the greater understanding of the city of Almaty.



When completing such projects, you often feel not a sense of relief but a sense of sadness because you feel you’ve put so much effort into this. You put so much of your love, and heart into sharing your art that you can’t help but feel vulnerable and then you understand that it’s what artists do and what makes it so satisfying to be an artists in the contemporary world despite the fact that we don’t make very much money and we are often misunderstood by many. But for myself I appreciate that at least one person in the world has been touched or learns something from what we’ve done for this exhibit of The Transformation of Space in Almaty.

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Monday, September 24th, 2007

Sensuality of Space

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Sensuality of Space 1&2- details and explanation of paintings



This is a series of two pieces that accompany the video installation project by Aminatou Echard. The paintings are oil on canvas. and they are each 120cmx80cm in size. The pieces aren’t really a diptych but match in size and color. They are individual pieces that are meant to respond to each other and the projected video by Aminatou. My idea was to create a response to video. I worked in close dialogue with Aminatou as she was developing her video. We both found a moment in her film we both agreed that could be stopped and perhaps savored for a moment and reconfigured through painting. The work isn’t an exact reproduction of the video. I expanded on the idea of the video and found something new in the image. Aminatou and I both tried to find something that really felt like an element to his home and life. Trying to convey Georgii’s space and his spirit was the challenge for me.


Sensuality of Space 1 is actually two pieces on one canvas. The image is the echo or stutter of how we perceive video or perhaps a way to understand how we remember things. The work harkens back to abstract expressionist paintings. There are some new elements here. The work is processual, sometimes you see parts that seem to fragment or distort. A hand comes from behind a fragmented part of red. This is Georgii’s hand. When viewing Aminatou’s video we agreed that his hands really say a lot about who he is. An interesting physical trait that I wanted to somehow convey.


Sensuality of Space 2 is a different painting than the first one. The work feels more complete or less processual. It was here where I focus on the image sitting alone in space. There is a different feeling about it. I find the metal pots as a metaphor of Georgii’s spirit. The metal objects sit in space amongst other objects that you can not quite identify. There are more fragmentation’s of space in red and the space is somehow flattened to remind one that they are not looking into space but are looking at a painting. I find that the red images are like pixels fragmenting.

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Monday, September 24th, 2007

Moving Through Time and Space

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Moving Through Time and Space(Saule & Kuanish)1&2 Oil on Canvas each 120cmx80c each-details and explanation of paintings


This diptych painting is done for the first floor of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art. The work is about the two artists Saule Suleimenova and Kyanish Bazargaliev inside their apartment and studio. If you look from left to right you actually see the image of Saule moving through the canvas. Sitting on the chair holding a book is Kyanish. Things are melting and dripping here. Sometimes you see the space and sometimes the space disappears. I am working on the feeling of art being a process. You can see pencil marks over paint and paint over pencil marks. There are little elements of life here. Some examples are a tea kettle, some wine glasses and pialas (Kazakh tea cups). Things seem to float in and out of the space as memory.


There is a building near the middle of the painting. It’s an apartment that is down the street from Saule and Kyanish’s place. I love the architecture of Almaty. It’s hard for me to avoid painting pictures of them. During the Soviet Union they were called Social Condensers and I love that name. I did a whole series of paintings about them and this part of the piece harks back to these earlier works.


The challenge to understand interior spaces was something that took a lot of thinking to figure out how to best convey them. I want something fresh and new here. I want the paintings to feel like you are in a dream.


I noticed something after installing this that I found really interesting. The piece captures a lot of light by the mere fact that it is mainly white. This creates an illusion of light traveling through space. I quite enjoyed having these paintings face Gaisha Madanova’s work. I felt her photos conveyed the light in a similar way.

Sep 02 2007

Zhanara Notes - Work in Progress

Filed under: Zhanara

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Zhanara’s first impressions of Astana and the artists’ symposium

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This week, Daniel and I are in Astana for an international art symposium that the city organized to celebrate the day of the City onJuly 6th. The name of the symposium is: “Astana developing; art reviving”. Sounds pretty optimistic! We have been kept quite busy – barely have time to get proper rest. The connection in the hotel is too slow to get on the ‘artpologist’. We can barely read our mail. We’re sending Gaisha and Ami our impressions through email so that they can post them online. The photos will come in later. Upon our arrival, we were pleasantly surprised at how few cars are there out on the street. The air also felt much fresher and cleaner than in Almaty. We arrived to the hotel and met with artists that were arriving as time was going by. The lingua franca here is definitely Russian. Daniel and another artist from China are the only ones requiring translators. Around noon, we were taken to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see the opening of a joint exhibition of artists from Georgia. I was surprised to see such a huge turnout. There were a lot of different media: paintings, pottery, jewelry, scarves, photography. While there, I ran into my old friend from Taraz – I hadn’t seen her in a long time – she moved to Astana about seven years ago and made this city her home. Afterwards, we were taken around the city and shown all the objects of public art that the local artists are proud of. First, we went to the Museum of the First President to see the personal exhibit of Kamil Mullashev. His paintings portray the nature of Kazakhstan, women, including the wife of the President Nazarbayev, Sara. Her painting exuded light, just like one of medieval paintings portraying royalty. We were taken through the Museum, which used to be a former residency of the president, and shown his presents (that included weapons, books and souvenirs), his regalia and paintings. I noticed that there were two full-height paintings of Nazarbaev by Ilya Glazunov, a famous Russian portraitist.

Later, we were taken to a public park in front of the museum. There was a sculpture fountain in front of it. There were music booths throughout the park. Daniel said that they were put in place in order to create the feeling of a large city. We looked around and saw a lot of new buildings. However, Daniel said that his expectations of over-the-top cheesiness or flashiness of Astana architecture was about to be broken. Astana seemed just like any regular capital city with imperial ambitions. It could easily be Moscow or Washington DC. There are two parts to the city – the right bank of the Irtysh River is old and the left bank is new. The Left Bank is brand new. You can still see new buildings going up. Because there is so much space, the sky in Astana is huge. The scale of everything else is also huge. There are some public monuments on the mall – renderings of Kazakh traditional jewelry: rings, bracelets, buttons. Of course, their size is 2-3 times human-size, which also contributes to the perception of the scale as huge.

Yesterday, we went to a gallery that is located on the equivalent of the National Mall in Washington, DC. There was a press-conference followed by an art opening of a famous Russian artist Mihail Shchemyakin. It is his first time in Kazakhstan where he came with quite an entourage – his wife, his daughter, his sister, the head of his own foundation and the film director for an animation film based on his drawings. His wife Sara turned out to be a graduate of Swarthmore College! We were able to bond on that basis – my alma mater is Bryn Mawr.

Shchemyakin seems to be a cult figure for a lot of artists here. Every toast, every greeting addresses his attendance of the festival.Daniel and I really liked his sculptures, pictures of which were in the exhibit. The sculptures are phantasmagoric images of people and animals – people with huge fingers, guard-lions with multiple breasts… They are a little dark. The cool thing is the location of these sculptures – they are in the milieu of various historical imperial places, which subverts their meaning of grandeur and importance.

I think Shchemyakin stands among many different worlds and that’s what makes his figure really interesting for me. On the one hand, he was exiled from the Soviet period. He lived in the US for twenty eight years. Now, he’s moving to France. One example of his walking between the worlds is the following. He said that when he was being expelled from the Soviet Union, he was considered ‘left’. But when he came to France where the dominant trend at the time was abstract art, because his art was figurative, he was suddenly considered ‘right’.

I asked him a question about his personal views on the purpose of art and artists in society – given his experience with different social-state models. He said that he feels very responsible. Artists have been instrumental in creating advertisement and mass media such as TV. He said that his current position is to undo some of that.

Later!

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Friday, July 6th, 2007

Astana - new city

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Our stay in Astana is almost over! I think the best way to describe this trip is to say that it was a LEARNING experience. We learned a lot of things about the city, its architecture, its people… I suppose it made me see a lot of things about Almaty that I hadn’t noticed before. For instance, that the re-development that’s happening there is very elite in nature, while in Astana it captures the imagination of most people. Daniel noticed that Astana looks a lot more middle class than Almaty.

On the one hand, you can see lots of buildings (sometimes quite interesting from the perspective of their architecture) to rise up. Astana could be seen as one big platform for architectural experimentation. While some people criticize it as ‘eclectic’, I like the idea of experiments. The government is concerned with building a unique face for their city. We have seen a lot of public monuments in the form of interesting sculptures.

Construction is definitely a big part of living in this city. Most of the businessmen seem to be involved with construction. The urban landscape can change as fast as over a weekend. A friend of mine said that they went on a two-week vacation; upon coming back, they felt like they were coming to a new neighborhood – so much the environment changed.

On the other hand, there is still no infrastructure. This city does not feel like a city yet. It has a lot of way to go before it generates all these social relationships that make an urban space livable. For instance, I had to print out a few pages while we were staying at the gallery located on the Left Bank. I walked around close to one hour but failed to find any place that could help me to do that.

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Friday, July 6th, 2007

Astana art symposium

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As for the art symposium, let me give my personal evaluation of its positive and negative moments. I really liked that the organizers sought to raise the profile of artists in the building of Astana, and more generally, in society. I really liked the plein-air session when everyone was supposed to go outside and paint the city of Astana (which most artists did not care for because they thought that it wasn’t “serious” art that they were producing). I liked it because it was giving a lot of random people an opportunity to come and see, and perhaps, interact with artists.

However, as a symposium it failed. For me, a symposium is a rare opportunity to organize a forum for brainstorming, comparing, and analyzing. The organizers brought together about nineteen artists from different cities and countries. This was a perfect opportunity to discuss problems of art and culture. But, other than informal conversations after parties and during smoke recesses, there was no opportunity for artists and art critics to discuss their concerns and interests. Our interaction with artists from Astana did not exceed the purely introductory remarks. Not that people were uninterested in talking to each other but you really need to set up the proper settings before people start talking about serious issues.

In the end, it turned out to be just a collective exhibition of works that artists brought along than anything else. Of course, this is their first time organizing such a big event. Next time, I believe it will be better.

We learned a lot. But it was passive kind of work. Now, our hands are itching to start real work with Ami and Gaisha!

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Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Быт определяет сознание

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Вчера мы с Аминату ездили домой к Галиму Маданову. Квартира, в которой он живет со своей семьей, одновременно является и его мастерской. Я уже была у них в гостях несколько раз и мне очень нравится у них дома. В моих глазах, самой отличительной чертой их обстановки является функциональность. Я не могу припомнить ни одной декоративной вещи в их квартире. Все имеет свое практическое предназначение. И большая карта мира, которая висит на кухне, над диванчиком, говорит о том, что на эту карту постоянно смотрят, проводят по ней пальцем или ручкой, весело прибегают к ней при спорах, которые иногда разгораются на кухне между эрудитами, живущими в этой квартире. И поднимающиеся до потолка стеллажи полны книг, с которыми постоянно консультируются и сверяются. И расстановка мебели, которая полностью соответствует их повседневному быту. Сразу видно, что семья очень много времени проводит на кухне. Здесь вместо традиционного одного стола вы увидите аж целых два. Один стоит в центре комнаты, возле удобного маленького диванчика. Другой, письменный, стоит у окна и содержит стопки книг и журналов, а также щетки и краски. Корридор уставлен полками. Самая просторная комната – это мастерская (должен был быть зал, как я узнала у Галима). Здесь достаточно места чтобы отойти назад и посмотреть на свои картины издалека. Галиму нравится рисовать широко-масштабные картины, и даже в «зале» ему часто становится тесно.


Невольно вспоминаешь знаменитую фразу Маркса - «быт определяет сознание». Задумываешься, как же должен ощущать себя человек, живущий здесь каждый день. Сейчас могу сказать только одно – в квартире Галима мне чувствуется легко и непринужденно.

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Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Еще раз о быте

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Сегодня размышляла о том, как громадная стройка, развернувшаяся в городе, влияет лично на мою повседневную жизнь. Самое первое – это, наверное, то, что мой быт меняется каждый день. Например, когда жила на своей старой квартире, каждое утро я просыпалась, смотрела в окно и видела, как за моим окном за ночь вырастал еще один этаж высотного дома, который методично и неуклонно загораживал вид на гостиницу «Казахстан». Каждый раз, когда выходила из дома, надо было соображать, как лучше обойти стройку развязки, которая разрядилась прямо под нашими окнами. Кстати, стройка продолжалась даже ночью – часто не могла заснуть из-за того, что в комнату даже сквозь занавески проникал голубое свечение сварки или просыпалась от грохота экскаваторов.

Конечно, это все «объяснимо», «понятно», «временно». Если рационально подумать, то сразу приходит в голову мысль, что наш город в этом плане не первый и не последний в истории человечества. Ну, а если подойти не рационально, а по бытовому? Мне хотелось бы узнать каков повседневный опыт читателей нашего блога в этом отношении.

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Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Some notes on remont

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Visiting artists’ studios and talking to artists about their working spaces, I noticed that almost everyone mentions “remont” (or the lack of it that they feel they have to explain). Generally, remont means renovating or refreshing your home.


Since my early years of childhood, I’ve been afraid of ‘remont’. The moment my parents would pronounce this scary word, it would make my stomach feel queasy. Remont was something that my mother would do to our home EVERY summer.


Let me first tell what remont involved in our household. It started from packing and then moving everything out of a room, including furniture. This procedure would generally take a couple of days. Afterwards, you clean cob-webs on the walls and lay out the floor with old newspapers. Only then, you begin to white-wash the walls and the ceiling. After white-washing the whole room once, you let it dry. Then, inspect it for quality. Then, perhaps, do it all over again. The number of times you’d repeat this operation depended on the quality of limestone and the fastidiousness of the person making remont. My mother would do it for about three times. All these operations would take a day or two. Then, you’d remove the newspapers, wash the floors and windows. The same would be conducted in every room. Afterwards, the round of painting would begin – windows, doors, radiators, floors. (I liked this part because of I’d often get to work with a brush). The painting process would take another few days (depending on the quality of paint). Then, all our things would start moving back in the house.


I hated remont because that would mean displacement for me. I would not be able to read, because all books would be packed and put away. Plus, there would be no place to read. Even if I found it, as soon as I would sit down and read, my mother would call me for help. Other discomforts would include sleeping on the floor, sleeping with the smell of turpentine, getting bitten by mosquitoes, or enduring the zenith of summer heat outside.


This is how my mother would spend her summer holidays. A school teacher, she would get forty-eight days of vacation every year. Instead of traveling somewhere, she would spend half of her vacation making a remont in our home, and then, visit her mother’s home in a different city and do a remont there as well (along with her sisters). Among my mother’s arguments for the remont was “to refresh” the apartment, to do away with ‘worms’ and moths, and to change the environment.


Remont was not confined to the realm of the private homes. Entire organizations – schools, kindergartens, institutes – would also conduct their remonts as well. After school-year ended, our class master teachers would collect money to conduct a remont in their assigned rooms.


Today, remonts still continue. I often hear many people talking about their remonts. While in the Soviet period, people used to make remonts themselves, today, people tend to hire other people to do remonts. There are lots of special things being put in that require special skills.


Incidentally, the artists that we have visited seem to have not been really engaged with that kind of remont. Most of the studios that we have been to seem like they have not had remont in the last ten years (at least).


Daniel has been fascinated with the whole issue of remonts in Kazakhstan. He has mostly been struck with how different people make remonts in their apartments and how altogether, they contribute to a very interesting total view of the apartment building. It becomes a montage of sorts. He say that this would never happen in the States. The external look of the apartment building is controlled by very strong regulations. You can’t change anything in your apartment that would alter the external look of the building. Here is his painting that was inspired by a building on Lenina street in Almaty called “Three Heroes” (Три богатыря)

For instance, we were really struck by how the building that was allocated to the Union of Artists (on the cross-section of Kabanbay street and Vesnovka river) during the Soviet period. The building itself was built about thirty years ago. It was designed to host artists (upper floors were dedicated to apartments and the lower floor was given as studios – very high ceilings). Almost all first floor apartments belong to artists. Some artists’ commercial well-being is expressed in the kinds of modifications that they have made to their respective studios.


NB: As I grew up and moved out, my mother started having ‘remonts’ in my absence, to which I’m very thankful for her.

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Tuesday, July 24th,

Дарить вторую жизнь вещам - Георгий Трякин-Бухаров

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Вчера Гайша, Аминату и я провели весь день у Георгия Трякина-Бухарова. Выехали пораньше утром, надеясь успеть достаточно поработать. Однако, вместо ожидаемого часа в пути мы провели ажно целых три. Причина опять вся та же - стройка. Работа над несколькими развязками расстроила маршруты и графики всех автобусов. После часа ожидания на остановке какого-нибудь автобуса, направляющегося в район Первой Алматы, нам пришлось определять как и где ходят автобусы методом «тыка в небо». До людей, которые ездят на автобусах, (и благодаря которым, кстати, воздух в городе чище, чем мог быть) и тем более до их потерянного времени, никому, конечно, нет дела. Вот разозлюсь хорошенько и куплю какую-нибудь колымагу, чтобы пыхтеть выхлопными газами дешевого бензина в атмосферу города.


После всего этого стресса, дом Георгия показался нам тихой райской гаванью. Он расположился вдалеке от улиц, грохочущих самосвалами и урчащих несущимися до красного света иномарок. Мы пришли туда дворами. Такая наверное должна была быть старая Алма-ата, о которой так любовно писал Юрий Домбровский.


Дом-мастерская дяди Жоры огражден высоким металлическим забором. Когда открываешь дверь и переступаешь через ворота, немедленно попадаешь в лабораторию оживленных или оживающих вещей. У дяди Жоры – необыкновенная способность угадывать вторую жизнь у использованных и выброшенных за ненадобностью вещей. Например, он углядел в куче ржавой цепи пышную шевелюру для своей будущей скульптуры женщины. В мониторе старого компьютера он увидел морду быка, а колесики от манежа послужили глазами. Как заметила Аминату, в присутствии дяди Жоры, все эти вещи начинают оживать и издавать сигналы о том, кем им хочется стать. В его же отсутствие, они тускнеют и превращаются просто в кучу мусора. Ее нелегкой задачей предстоит передать через видео это необыкновенное свойство вдыхать жизнь в ненужные вещи.

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Thursday, July 26th, 2007


Пространство Ирины

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После обеда Гайша, Бота и я встретились с Ириной Масликовой и Асель Калиевой. Ирина гостеприимно пригласила нас к себе домой. Она живет в одном из старых пятиэтажных зданий. При подходе к ее дому опять наткнулись на стройку. Что за наваждение - она преследует нас везде по городу! На этот раз во всю длину вдоль дома вырыли траншею в ширину около двух метров. Ирина объяснила причину – проводят водопровод и канализацию к новостроящемуся дому за углом.


Их квартира находится на первом этаже, поэтому внутри царил полумрак и прохлада. Деревья, растущие за окном, давали благодатную и спасающую тень. В прихожей мы увидели горный велосипед. «Чей?», «Кто на нем ездит?», «Крутой байк» - посыпались вопросы со всех сторон, на которые Ирина ответила, что это ее основное средство передвижения. Она ездит на нем на работу. Бесстрашная девушка, которую не останавливают даже неуютность езды по улице Аль-Фараби (кстати, мне интересно узнать, после ее полной реконструкции будут ли выделены специальные дорожки для пешеходов и велосипедистов ИЛИ это станет эксклюзивным доменом автомашин?).


В комнате Ирины у нас стали разбегаться глаза от всяких интересных объектов – ее собственных работ, работ ее друзей, подарков и сувениров. Многие вещи в обиходе (подушки, покрывала, настилки) носили отмеченность ее рук. Например, темная подушка с красными буквами «I LOVE YOU» был в прошлом ее свитером. Асель – однокурсница Ирины – отчетливо помнит как Ирина носила его на 3-м курсе. Конечно же не обошлось без интересной музыки. Бота, напомнишь имя того музыканта, которого мы слушали первым? Потом звучала музыка из фильма «Птицы».


В углу комнаты мы заметили нечто, что никак не ожидали увидеть в ее комнате. Кусочек кухни! Бота, увидевшая кафельную стенку первой, спросила об ее истории. Оказалось, что она была нужна для проекта Ирины и Асель. «Настоящую» кухню занимать на длительное время они конечно не могли бы, поэтому перенесли план действий в этот угол. На столе была клеенка с цветами сирени, которую Ирина ассоциировала с нечто «советским». Чтобы она выглядела старее и «реальнее», ее натерли железной мочалкой. Проект закончился, а угол остался. Я сказала, что кухонный стол – это мое самое любимое место для работы.


Позднее, Гайша решила поснимать ту живописную стройку, которая развернуласть у Ирины за окном. Мы в это время стояли на улице и наблюдали за вечерней жизнью этого двора. На одной из скамеек разместилась группа подростков – время от времени, кто-нибудь из них подходил к турнику и подтягивался на перекладине. Напротив стояли качели, на которых сидели две пожилые женщины. Ирина сказала, что эти парни заняли их традиционное место, где все пожилые женщины двора выходят вечерком и общаются. Женщины на качелях теперь ожидали своего часа, когда «молодые люди» переместятся в другое место. Одна из них заметила, что Гайша очень долго и внимательно снимает прорытую траншею, и спросила меня, собираемся ли мы писать об этом. Я кивнула головой и тут на меня полился поток их жалоб. Они попросили, чтобы мы обязательно написали об этом «безобразии», длящемся уже более двух месяцев. О том, что они двадцать лет живут в этих домах с момента их постройки, и не видывали такого беспорядка как сейчас. Что в результате стройки этой траншеи были выкорчеваны все деревья, которые они посадили двадцать лет назад. Что стало меньше места, где можно подышать воздухом. Что их внукам негде побегать без риска изувечить себя, упав в яму. Я слушала их возмущения целых двадцать минут – у них действительно наболело на душе.

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Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Все гениальное просто - Сакен Нарынов

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Сакен встретил нас у ворот бывшей ВДНХ, на территории которого находится его рабочая лаборатория. По дороге к его мастерской мы прошли через парк – как будто эхо близлежащего Ботанического сада. По дороге Сакен рассказывал, как долго он работает в своей мастерской. Оказалось, что у него также длинная история взаимоотношений с этим пространством. Он работает здесь с конца 80-х. В нестабильные 90-е годы он был там даже сторожем.


Во дворе мы увидели знакомую скульптуру. Раньше она стояла во дворе старого здания Центра Современного Искусства. Многие посетители интересовались этой скульптурой, которая была непохожа ни на одно произведение искусства внутри галереи. Она почему-то напоминала мне модель какой-нибудь ДНК. С одной стороны, она казалась невыразимо сложной, а с другой как любое гениальное изобретение человечества очень красиво проста.

После того как здание ЦСИ снесли, Сакен перевез скульптуру к себе и начал модифицировать и дорабатывать. Тогда как в прошлой жизни она была статичной и одного цвета, теперь Сакен приделывает к ней пружины, что делает ее более восприимчивой к различным воздействиям. Она должна будет вибрировать от прикосновения руки или порыва ветра. Он начал объяснять концепцию этой композиции – «День и ночь». Как белое и черное существуют бок о бок, как они разделяют одну и ту же организацию. Сакен рассказывал, что его творческий поиск определяется дуальностями. Большинство его работ это размышление над природой противостояний. Между свободой и заключением, днем и ночью, разумом и страстью, мужчиной и женщиной.


Зайдя внутрь мастерской Сакена, я сразу отметила для себя насколько его пространство легко и воздушно. Вначале, мы прошли в комнату, где его помощник, молодой архитектор занимался моделированием какого-то здания, спроецированного Сакеном. Мы заметили, что над дверью, выходящей на балкон, висит гнездо ласточки. По народной примете, если ласточка свила в твоем доме гнездо, это означает счастье и благополучие для того домашнего очага. Оказалось, что Сакен сам установил это гнездо, потому что является поклонником архитектурной гениальности ласточки.


Мы с Даниелем были в таком восторге от его пространства, что, наверное, даже немного смутили его. Нам нравилось все. Даже квадратики заплаток на линолеуме, обитые железными полосками. Они были сделаны добротно и устойчиво. Хотя Сакен объяснил нам, что заплатки они поставили, потому что нет денег, чтобы менять весь линолеум, я считаю, что это признак устойчивого образа жизни. Вообще, понятие устойчивости интересно… Я не исследовала его происхождение, но просто использую его английский эквивалент «sustainability». Он предполагает, что все мы должны жить, неся ответственность перед следующими поколениями на планете. Поэтому каждый из нас в каждодневной жизни должен избегать тех излишеств, который, в конечном счете, несут вред окружающей среде. Нынешнее индустриальное общество производит столько отходов, которые не успевают разлагаться и перерабатываться. Конечно, изменить что-то кардинально - сложно, но если каждый из нас будет об этом помнить и руководствоваться в повседневной жизни, то это было бы уже началом. Например, если Сакен, вместо того чтобы залатать порванный линолеум в нескольких местах, купил новый, тогда бы он добавил, по крайней мере, 20 килограммов неразлагаемого мусора.