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Glacial laments in Central Asia

Editor’s note: A unique music show combining visual art and glaciology has been traveling through Central Asia to highlight the plights of global warming. NewEurasia’s Nik McCaren went to check it out as it. “The experience was quite moving,” he writes, “as though the glaciers have been lamenting to humanity and until now we have been deaf to hear them.”

The “Omnibus” Ensemble from Uzbekistan and Lillevan, a video artist from Germany, have gone on a grand tour of sorts in the region with their program, “Music of the Glacier”, in order to draw attention to global warming. The Goethe Institute in Almaty and Tashkent sponsored the program, a unique combination of art and science.

The threat of climate change is particularly acute in Central Asia, especially with respect to water (either abundance or shortage). There are several truly mighty glaciers situated here, which play a crucial role in water supply of the whole region [Ed.: See our guest post on the Davidoff Glacier in Kyrgyzstan].

The program has already passed through most of the region with almost no media attention from either inside or outside: September 15 in Tashkent, September 19 in Dushanbe, and 22 September in Almaty. The final performance shall take place in Bishkek today (26 September) on the square near the Opera and Ballet Theatre

It begins with an expedition to Tuyuksu glacier in Kazakhstan at July 2012, which consisted of scientists, artists, journalists, filmmakers, staff of the Goethe Institute and glaciologists, with the purpose of recording the sounds of the glacier’s melting. The expedition’s main sound engineer was Sarah Monimart of Radio Arte.*

The main event of the show is¬†Omnibus and Lillevan. Omnibus’s music director, Artyom Kim, has created a 90 minute soundscape from Tuyuksu, while Lillevan has produced a video performance to accompany the music. This was accompanied by technical lectures from the Goethe Institute about the condition of Tuyuksu and other glaciers.

The experience was quite moving, as though the glaciers have been lamenting to humanity and until now we have been deaf to hear them…

Photos courtesy of the Omnibus Ensemble.

* The Goethe Institute has also declared an open competition for multimedia artists to submit their audio and video works created on the basis of recorded sounds from this glacier. Results of the competition will be announced in November. More information can be found on the page of the contest.

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