Politics and Society
The Central Asian Pavilion at the the 55th Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), curators Ayatgali Tuleubek and Tiago Bom would like to invite artists to submit proposals of works to be hosted at the exhibition.
La Biennale di Venezia has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation, it has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends. The 55th Venice Biennale will take place from June to November 2013.
The exhibition’s working title “Winter” is inspired by Abay’s poem. This project aims to address and bring a visual reflection on the complexity of the current socio-political context of the Central Asian region by employing the tools of the poetical and metaphorical language.
Artists from or living in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are invited to propose works that could explore this given context. Young and emergent artists are encouraged to apply.
For more information: http://www.cap2013.net/opencall/
Deadline: 15th of October 2012
This photo, taken by one of the people in the group, shows ethnic Russians in a container yard in Navoiy, en route from Zarafshan to Russia. It was provided to NewEurasia courtesy of Open Central Asia Magazine (OCA), who published it originally on their Facebook page.
These Russians are part of the latest wave of their ethnicity to be making their way out of Uzbekistan for the Russian Federation. According to OCA, most of Russians leaving Navoiy Province are heading toward small and medium cities in the European part of Russia.
Editor’s note: NewEurasia’s Khan returns to talk more about Turkmenistan’s Hip Hop scene, and with a novel interpretation: with all the intense boredom of the Turkmen youth, could Hip Hop provide not only an emotional release, but a way for the government to get a sense of what the rising generation wants? [Read our entire series, “Turkmen on the turntables”, by clicking here.
When I last posted on NewEurasia, I introduced readers to the brief history of Turkmenistan’s Hip Hop scene. I now want to talk more about the political potential of the music, which is really there.
But first, I gotta say that I don’t mean revolution. I can’t think of any Hip Hop singer in history who’s ever had either the balls or the actual power to overthrow a government. Yeah, there’s a lot of talk of political violence in Western Hip Hop lyrics, especially the “underground” stuff in America and France, but it’s just bluster, guys beating their chests and acting tough. Actually, in Yemen Hip Hop’s a force against political violence.
Besides, most of us Turkmens — including the rappers — don’t want to destroy our government. The older generation went through that already in 1991, and all we young guys have to do is look over at Kyrgyzstan or Syria to see how messy it can get. That doesn’t mean we aren’t angry or things couldn’t blow up one day, because they could. Here’s why:
Editor’s note: British student Danny Gordon has been cycling across the world to raise money for UNICEF and Sports Relief, and not long ago, he passed through the southern arc of the former Soviet Union, eventually through Georgia and into Central Asia’s erstwhile cousins in Turkey. Here are his impressions about the two nations’ efforts to Westernize, but do his words reveal more about the Westerner passing through?
The modern, sculpted border crossing between Turkey and Georgia would not have been out of place on the European continent, given the ease with which I passed through. It was so easy, I might even have had a stupid grin plastered to my face on completion. In fact, it seemed in many ways as though Turkey and Georgia were striving to become more like the constituent EU members, and achieve real change. I had found that the defining characteristic of Western-style democracies in Europe was a freedom of thought among the people, and felt that it was towards that at which Turkey and Georgia should aim if their aspirations were serious.
Editor’s note: British student Danny Gordon has been cycling across the world to raise money for UNICEF and Sports Relief, and not long ago, he passed through the southern arc of the former Soviet Union. NewEurasia managed to catch up with him to ask his impressions about crossing borders here…
As I pedaled away from the last security check in the crossing from Georgia to Azerbaijan, I, admittedly oddly, found myself likening the dynamic between these two countries to that which might be found at an awkward cocktail party.
I had fully expected the crossing to be somewhat uncomfortable, as a result of potential tensions arising from the huge cultural and religious differences between Orthodox Christian Georgia and Muslim Azerbaijan. Churches of Georgian cross-dome style that framed beautiful frescoes and murals were abruptly replaced by Azeri mosques dripping in colourful, rhythmic arabesque. The change was so stark; the personalities of the states’ so different, that I wouldn’t have been surprised if, when they met at the border-post, it had been a less than cordial affair. As it happened, I was pleasantly surprised.
Editor’s note: British student Danny Gordon has been cycling across the world to raise money for UNICEF and Sports Relief. He recently passed through Central Eurasia, and NewEurasia managed to catch up with him to ask his impressions about crossing borders here…
Somewhere on the dusty, Kyzyl-Kum desert road between Nukus and Bukhara, I was stopped and offered tea by a large man who ran a roadside stall. It was a kindness that had been a common theme since Turkey. I leaned my bicycle against a post and children materialised as if from nowhere, curious about this alien form of “velosiped”.
I sat down, and the usual questions came, only now they came in Russian since my host presumed it more likely that he could be understood in Russian than Uzbek. “Where are you from?”, was the inevitable opener. It seemed innocuous enough, but so many before this man had asked me, and subsequently been overjoyed that the answer had been “England”, that it was obvious that this was more than just a conversation starter. It seemed to be a method by which you could quickly determine friend from your enemy.
It is no surprise that in countries where demos do not have much say governments can and do “insistingly recommend” living lives in a certain way. The Tashkent mayor Rakhmonbek Usmonov thought so too and issued a decree regulating wedding ceremonies, RFE/RL’s Uzbek service reported. According to the decree, the wedding parties are to be concluded by 10PM. The reasons behind limiting the time are quite noble: noise pollution, regulating working hours in restaurants hosting wedding ceremonies, etc. Read the full story »
A lot has been happening in media and telecommunications – Internet, libel, translation, TV, social networks, mass media, blogging, songs and cell phones – in Central Asia these past few months, for the good and for the bad. Let’s take a look at two stories from each country, regarding media advancements and setbacks that have taken-shape in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan so far in 2012.
Press Freedom in CENTRAL ASIA
The 2012 Freedom of the Press Report, published by human rights group Freedom House, was released in May. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) informs on the role Eurasia/Central Asia plays in the report:
“As a region, Eurasia remained mired in severe press freedom problems, with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan also rated “not free.” Ukraine barely hung onto a rating of “partly free,” just one point away from being downgraded.”
Press release from the OSCE Central Asian Youth Network (CAYN):
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Centre in Astana, Kazakhstan is pleased to invite undergraduate students currently enrolled in universities in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, including students from Mongolia and Afghanistan studying at Central Asian universities to submit applications for competitive selection to attend the OSCE Central Asian Youth Network Seminar, which will be hosted by the OSCE Centre in Astana and held on 4-6 September 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The seminar will bring together promising students from Central Asian OSCE participating States to enhance their critical thinking skills and ability to think beyond the box about existing threats to security in Central Asia. The seminar also aims to stimulate creativity and encourage a co-operative
approach among students from countries in the region. Seminar participants will be selected based on the quality of their application (particularly the critical review) and their community involvement.
How we evaluate your critical review: We expect a highly original personal perspective on the topic. We will look for an ability to challenge existing assumptions, a coherent presentation of arguments, a clear structure, and intelligent comments. Anti-plagiarism rules apply to all works received.
The seminar’s working languages are English and Russian; applicants must be fluent in both.
CAYN alumni are also encouraged to apply. There are 10 funded places reserved for CAYN alumni. The candidates will be chosen based on their proposed substantive contribution to the event. But in any case, if you happen to be in Almaty at the time of the seminar, please feel free to join
CAYN2012 (prior registration is required). Successful candidates will be invited, all expenses paid, to attend the seminar in Almaty to participate in panel discussions, interactive exercises, and a simulation game with their fellow Central Asian students, CAYN alumni, and leading regional experts. Upon completion of the seminar a group of students will be provided an opportunity to participate in a familiarization tour of the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, Austria. We look forward to welcoming you to Almaty!
OSCE/CAYN2012 Student Application: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEZySzV1MXk0ZTVCdzBJaGI3N1ZNdlE6MQ
OSCE/CAYN2012 ALUMNI Application: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFFEMEtRT2swbmg3NFR6SV82N1NMVUE6MA#gid
DEADLINE: 15 June, 2012 (Earlier submissions are encouraged)
A Tajik singer has summed up his support for Russia’s pro-Putin political culture via music.
Tolinjon Kurbanhanov has mixed music, politics and religion in a melodious melting pot, void of separation and flourishing with his own expression. The singer’s music is openly, politically expressive and far from traditionally, culturally Tajik. Kurbanhanov’s two videos, that though are a few months old – are still, to this day, being viewed by thousands.
Kurbanhanov has made a name for himself by praising Russian political figurehead Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin through song. Singer Kurbanhanov’s first song/video about Putin was released on the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, with aims to encourage folks to – say the least – vote for Putin! The song, titled “GDP”, quickly became an Internet sensation after hitting the Web on February 4th. In less than one month, “GDP” was viewed 1.5 million times. And on May 21st, the video clocked in at 1,310,373 views.