FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2007
Mobile Aesthetics and Social Movements: Workshop, Worth-Ryder Gallery
2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Polycentric Session, UC-Berkeley, Townsend
Center for the Humanities
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We present our project called “Transformation
of Space in Almaty” about the post-socialist Central Asian city
undergoing rapid urban development during the 21st century. We explore
the nature of the transition of the city and culture by looking at the
micro-fabric of the city. We zoom in and study the studios of artists
as an integral part of the city. We participate in the everyday life
and work of artists to understand how they inhabit the city. Through
this project, we create value in the old communities and neighborhoods
that are being torn down without any consideration about their value
to the present and future generations.
In this project, we combine art and anthropology.
As anthropologists, we have spent extensive time visiting artists’
studios, talking to artists and participating in their daily lives.
As artists, we have re-interpreted the collected material and filtered
it through our artistic visions.
The project consists of a multi-media installation
and web-blog (http://artpologist.net). The August exhibit in Almaty
at the Soros Center for Contemporary Art featured video installation,
photo installation, painting and drawing installation and anthropological
field-notes installation by four authors: Gaisha Madanova, Daniel Gallegos,
Zhanara Nauruzbayeva, and Aminatou Echard. The blog is a documentation
of the daily work for our project from the beginning of our fieldwork
and until the exhibit opening.
Zhanara Nauruzbayeva (Kazakhstan) is a PhD candidate in cultural and
social anthropology at Stanford University (USA). Her research subject
is the transformation of the creative intelligentsia since the end of
the Soviet period. She investigates this question through ethnographic
attention to daily practices of how creative people live and work in
Almaty. She has been working with the artist community in Almaty, Kazakhstan
for the past year.
Daniel Gallegos (USA) is an artist from Oakland,
California who works with drawing and painting. His subject of investigation
is the relationship between architecture and class. He uses painting
and drawing as a means of creating installations of environments. Daniel’s
current series of paintings uses an ethnographic approach to gain better
understanding of the Soviet modernist architecture of Almaty.
Aminatou Echard (France) is an artist who works
with experimental film and video installations. Her concern is how space
transforms people and how people inhabit spaces. She conveys this idea
by exploring the relationship between sound and image. Fieldwork is
a crucial element in her artistic practice. After four years of working
in Bolivia in ethnomusicology, she has started a new stage in Central
Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan) where she has already spent
four months in 2006 by collecting images and sounds to gain an understanding
of the specific relationship between spaces and people.
Gaisha Madanova (Kazakhstan) is a third-year
student at the faculty of Architecture in the Almaty College of Construction
and Management. In spring 2007, she worked as a photographer in an artist
residence in the Cité internationale des arts in Paris.