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The Ecology Of Consciousness: Upcycling
Public program curated by Diana Ukhina (Kyrgyzstan)
Oak Park Gallery, Floor 2, October 10–19, 2023

Everything is alive, everything changes, and at each point of change we influence the course of the future. The starting point for environmental sustainability and harmonization is healing our relationship with ourselves (our inner ecology), which translates into our interactions with the reality we create, as everything is an extension of us.

 

The public program space The Ecology of Consciousness: Upcycling, a part of the festival Interpreting the History of Pollution: Art Prospect and Trash-5, focuses on potential methods of art, creation, and consumption. What can we make out of what’s at hand, without beginning another cycle of manufacturing? How can we reshape ourselves and make meaning and zones of creativity and communication by re-configuring what we already have?

 

In the same vein, the space for this public program is being created from available materials: supplies from previous exhibitions and projects at the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art and the art studio Synergy; functional and creative sculptures made of scrap textiles; interior decorations and crafts borrowed from friends. All of the program's events are also either drawn from things that either have already been created or are a side product of the artistic process (videos, publications, collages, craftivism), or they do not require manufacturing any new objects (breathwork and relaxation, exchange of ideas, reassembling of meanings, reading, tea parties).

 

In this public space, we will feel out, live through, and gain awareness of many ecologies: of consciousness, of relationships and actions, of the body.

 

The space was built by the creative labor of Bermet Borubaeva, Aimeerim Tursalieva, Chynarkul Zhusupkeldieva, Adel Ismailkhanova, Alima Tokmergenova, Syinat Joldosheva, Diana Ukhina, Talgat Berikov, and our volunteers, as well as by the hands of unknown craftswomen.


Elements of the Space

Section Title

Library and Rest Area

This zone is set up to allow exhibition visitors to rest and chat, as well as to read creative and art-critical writings by festival organizers and artists. Here you can connect with the Library of Saved Books, founded by the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art and Tazar two years ago in the settlement of Altyn Kazyk. Altyn Kazyk is the second venue of Interpreting the History of Pollution:  Art Prospect and Trash-5.

Mini Movie Theater

The mini movie theater hosts video artworks and films that deal with issues of ecology and people's relationships with the environment and themselves.

Video program:

○      Escape from Freedom, 2010 video artwork (Strekooza Artist Collective: Bermet Borubaeva, Nellya Jamanbaeva, Alima Tokmergenova, and Diana Ukhina)

○      Metal Bread, 2015 Russian-language documentary (Chingiz Narynov)

○      North-South, 2021 video artwork (Bermet Borubaeva)

○      Bishkeksmog, 2021 Russian-language documentary (Iskender Aliev and Bermet Borubaeva)

○      National Treasure, 2022, English-language documentary (Iskender Aliev)

○  Dasi-Dasi, 2023 video artwork (Rakhat Asangulova)

○      Touching the Water, 2023 video artwork (Diana Ukhina)

Situational Activity and Discussion Zones

The public program space transforms to host events and welcome resting, reading, and conversation among festival attendees.

Program

October 5 (Thursday)

6:45–8:00 pm: DJ Storytelling Healing the Earth by Diana Ukhina

8:00–8:40 pm: DJ Set by Diana Ukhina

Festival Opening at Oak Park Gallery

I am becoming more and more aware of climate and environmental transformations. One of the concepts I articulate in this sound-plus-visual story (sound meditation) is how all the planet's elements interact through my awareness of myself as an organic part of it. Everything is a vibration that can move you, feel an experience, spark a conscious reflection on yourself and the environment. Everything is alive, everything changes, and at each point of change we influence the course of the future. The starting point for environmental sustainability and harmonization is healing our relationship with ourselves (inner ecology), which translates into our interactions with the reality we create, as everything is an extension of us.

 

Sound contemplation, meditation, movement, and dance are liberation. Sensing sound’s potential and recognizing ourselves in it as a kind of dense vibration is a starting point for environmentalism, for finding harmony in our relationship with the living planet and expressions of life.

October 7 (Saturday)

8:00–10:00 pm: Central Asian discotheque

DJ Storytelling by Diana Ukhina Warble with the Earth from Documenta15 (2022)

Festival Opening in Altyn Kazyk

Circulating sounds, waves, memories, and motions. Sound contemplation, meditation, movement, and dance are liberation. Sensing sound’s potential and recognizing ourselves in it as a kind of dense vibration is a starting point for environmentalism, for finding harmony in our relationship with the living planet and expressions of life.

 

In DJ storytelling, sound meditation is a way to stake a claim; an attempt to assemble myself and others from scraps of Central Asian sound memory; a manifestation of these vibrations of the earth; a subverting of global cultural hegemony with the sounds of my exoticized and often invisible home. A stringing of local beads strung onto the thread of a sonic necklace of global rhythm and tone; a gathering of a multitude of voices into a message.

 

This DJ performance was first presented at the international exhibition documenta15 (2022) as part of the DAVRA Collective's public program.

October 10 (Tuesday):

2:00–3:30 pm

Curatorial Tour of the Exhibition and Program at Oak Park Gallery

with Bermet Borubaeva, Oxana Kapišnikova, Aimeerim Tursalieva, and Diana Ukhina

Moderated by Diana Ukhina

For this tour, the festival curators will share details about works on display at the exhibit and upcoming events there, public art projects near the gallery, and the festival's location in the Altyn Kazyk settlement, as well as answer audience questions.

 

Free admission 

October 10 (Tuesday)

3:30–4:30 pm

The Shining Mountain Book Talk

Tazar and the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art

 

The children's fairy tale book The Shining Mountain tells the story of schoolchildren from the fictional Little Country, where humans live in harmony with nature and each other. One day, they discover a mountain of trash near their house, and start exploring the world of trash. The book discusses issues of trash and the environment and presents the lives of the inhabitants of the illegal settlements of Altyn Kazyk and Kalys Ordo. It aims to tell the true story of waste in Bishkek through the eyes of its main characters, the schoolgirl Altyn and schoolboy Kalys, as they earn lots of practical and useful objects, learn to recycle, and teach their relatives and friends. Illustrations from the book, brought to life by a sound installation featuring Kyrgyz actresses, will be appear at the exhibition.

 

Free admission 

October 11 (Wednesday)

1:00–5:00 pm

Trash-4: Follow the River of Trash Zine Presentation and Collective Reflection on Interpreting the History of Pollution: Art Prospect & Trash-5 

 

Moderated by Diana Ukhina

 

Featuring Bermet Borubaeva, Oxana Kapišnikova, Aimeerim Tursalieva, and Diana Ukhina, curators; festival artists, volunteers, organizers, and attendees

 

On this date, we plan to discuss last year's festival using the zine TRASH-4 Eco-Festival: Follow the River of Trash, as well as collectively reflect on this year's festival over a cup of tea, sharing our experience creating it and thoughts on our process. The discussion is open to anyone who wants to ask questions, share ideas, and take part in reflecting.

 

Free admission

October 12 (Thursday)

2:00–4:00 pm

Adel Ismailkhanova

Gathering Collage Materials Workshop

 

For this hand-crafted collage workshop, I will discuss the techniques I use in my work and how and where to find collage materials. During the class, we will experiment with making collages from materials that could have ended up at the dump, but will become works of art instead.

 

Sign-up required (10–12 participants)

October 14 (Saturday)

1:00–5:00 pm

Vladislav Ushakov and Yaroslav Tartykov

Environmental Monitoring and Research Foundation (EcoMiR)

(Kyrgyzstan)

Birdwatching Trip to Mark Environmental Activist Day

 

The artists and registered participants will gather in the gallery for a 20-minute tour of The Ecology of Consciousness: Upcycling, to be followed by a birdwatching trip in honor of Environmental Activist Day.

 

Sign-up required (10–12 participants)

October 15 (Sunday)

12:00–5:00 pm

Alima Tokmergenova

(Kyrgyzstan)

A Day of Craftivism

 

We will spend all day creating, chatting, slowing down, and sharing our knowledge. Come if you've never touched a needle and thread before; come if you are an experienced crafter and want to teach others; come if you want to refresh a favorite piece of clothing by imbuing it with hand-made meaning.

 

Activities: craftivism history lesson, embroidery, collaging fabric on clothes, quilting techniques (kurak, boro, sashiko). Bring fabric scraps and old clothes to upcycle! We will take tea and meditation breaks from crafting, too.

 

Drop-in participation throughout the day; no sign-up needed.

October 18 (Wednesday)

2:00–4:00 pm

Diana Ukhina

(Kyrgyzstan)

Clay therapy, breathwork, and tea

 

We will feel the clay in our hands, establish a relationship with it, relinquish our expectations, and let ourselves dissolve into this (very gentle) process.Through this interaction, we will end up discovering some sort of shape that flows out of ourselves. It's like feeling and telling ourselves the intimate story of our relationship with the Earth through our hands. Clay is one of the most ancient materials, used to everything from homes and utilitarian objects to works of art. Working with clay slows you down and allows you to make contact with the earth. The key is to let go of your expectations and not be afraid of the material.

 

Sign-up required (10–12 participants)

October 18 (Wednesday)

3:00–4:00 pm

Art Jashoo multimedia theater 

Puppet performance ‘SPARKING MOUNTAIN’

Tazar Kyrgyzstan and Bishkek School of Contemporary Art will prepare a puppet performance based on the fairytale and present it in collaboration with ART JASHOO. 

Artistic director, director of production - Umsunai Musaeva

Director - Adel Alymkulova

Executive Manager - Akgүl Өmurakunova

Production designer - Janyshbek Botoy

Scenic  and Costume Designer - Aidai Musabekova

Idea and production: Aimeerim Tursalieva and Bermet Borubaeva

October 19 (Thursday)

3:00–5:00 pm

Alima Tokmergenova

(Kyrgyzstan)

Open-Air Sculpture Museum Tour (Oak Park)

 

On this stroll through Oak Park, we will learn the history of the Open-Air Sculpture Museum and look at select sculptures and displays. Afterward, lounging on the park's grass or in the gallery, we can meditate over a cup of tea and chat about the Trash-5 festival's themes.

 

Sign-up required (10–12 participants)

 

Alima Tokmergenova is a researcher, member of the art studio Synergy, and co-founder of the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BSCA). Interests include Kyrgyzstan’s art history and the history of Bishkek. Her art practice includes ceramics, linocut, craftivism, kurak quilting, writing, and tea performances.

Art works from the exhibition of the public program “Ecology of Consciousness: Upcycling”.

Adel Ismailkhanova (Kyrgyzstan)

Series of hand-made collages 

Collage is the medium in which I find it easiest to share my thoughts, emotions, and impressions; to tell stories, voice my worries, and express my opinions on various events and phenomena. My works often incorporate photographs of the city: its sites, architecture, objects, plants, and nature. I like talking about women, about women's experience, and reinterpreting their images in my collages. I like to do-over and re-sew the fabric of the city, alter reality, and create mystical, fantasy images of the world.

 

Adel Ismailkhanova is a collage artist, animator, DJ, art activist, and curator. She has been a member of the art studio Synergy since 2019 and is a co-organizer of the queer rave series Synergy, which is ongoing since 2021. Ismailkhanova’s work deals with themes of gender and queerness. It explores different art mediums such as film, ceramics, and performance.

 

Syinat Joldosheva (Kyrgyzstan)

Family textile art

Syinat Joldosheva is an artist, graphic designer, PR specialist and co-founder of the Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BISCA).

Talgat Berikov (Kyrgyzstan)

Wood objects

Bermet Borubaeva, Aimeerim Tursalieva, Chynarkul Zhusupkeldieva (Kyrgyzstan)

Decorative textile waste assemblages 

Zarina Nazarbek kyzy (Kyrgyzstan)

Braid

Braided installation and sculptures

This work is meant to call attention to environmentalism—to recycling sewing waste, i.e. making beautiful, practical things out of trash. Sewing waste has a big negative impact on our country, which is why I decided to reinterpret it and turn it into positive things. I didn’t think of braiding immediately; I went through kurak quilting, meaning that I attempted kurak, then applique and mixed media. Only after some time did I try braiding. This technique is universal: you don't need experience, skills, or teaching. Another upside of braiding is meditating. When you are braiding, you can meditate, calm down, and think about positive things. Preparing a long ribbon for braiding requires prep work, which is quite time intensive because you have to handle many waste fabric scraps, cutting them to the same width and attaching them. This installation took four months to create.

Diana Ukhina (Kyrgyzstan)

Photo shoot Big Bishkek Lake

Unknown Craftswomen (Kyrgyzstan)

Decorative textiles

 

Photos by Ermek Jaenisch
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