Bishkek, the Berlin of Central Asia? Part 1 — Namba.kg
Business and Economics, Culture and History, Kyrgyzstan, Photoblog3 Comments
A lot of my acquaintances in Kyrgyzstan are under the assumption that their country is totally obscure in the West. To the contrary, they are fairly well-known — for political upheaval and intense poverty. Images of mobs surging against the White House as Svoboda looked on and rotting, almost post-apocalyptic infrastructure are typically the first things that come to a Westerner’s mind, well, usually with a culpak or two thrown in.
Of course, like any country, Kyrgyzstan has several realities, often overlapping, sometimes contradictory, sometimes merging. A lot of Western specialists, and for that matter, a lot of Kyrgyzstan’s own intelligentsia, tend to identify the most unstable, tragic and savage realities of the country with its totality, often at the expense of some really cool or interesting other aspects.
One of these aspects has been the gradual entrance of what can be described as global youth corporate culture — informal office environments, where graffiti art adorns the walls, there’s a mixture of business savvy and punkish DIY ethics in the air, and co-workers often go out clubbing together after work. Business start-ups and artist collectives in this mold are starting to sprout across Bishkek, and it’s all got a very incipient Berlin vibe in my opinion.
One of these start-ups is well-known to Kyrgyznet users: Namba.kg, a multi-application online platform that has become a hub for user-generated videographic content in the country. I happen to be friendly with some of their staff, who allowed me to take a peak into their office and snag photos of the really cool artwork on their walls. Apologies for the un-stellar quality of the photos; my digital camera is getting antiquated.