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visual arts, film, music, literature
installation art, performance, documentary, feature film, short film, Oriental pop,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Off the Silk Road
Art and Culture from Central Asia
21.01.2002 10:00
Bauwelt, Le Monde Diplomatique, Deutsche Welle, ARTE, taz, Zitty, Flash Art, Filmfestival Cottbus
LufthansaStiftung West-Östliche Begegnungen Auwärtiges Amt
Aktan Abdykalykov, Beshkempir (The Adopted Son)
Dareshan Omirbaev, Killer Omirbaev
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Central Asian states have been undergoing a dynamic reorientation process full of conflicts, in which the rediscovery of religious roots also plays an important part. There have been frequent endeavours to create and recreate history and to instrumentalise it for political purposes. The sometimes violent attempts to establish nations in this multi-ethnic region should be seen against this background.

Although the search for identity has often prompted individual countries to accentuate and assert their differences, they still evoke the myth of the silk road as a shared symbol of a glorious past. For more than 2,000 years, the silk road served as a trade route and cultural bridge linking the Central Kingdom with the Roman Empire.

The art and culture of these countries, as a reflection of the disparate social developments there, is largely unknown in Germany, despite the region’s rapidly growing geo-strategic, economic and political importance. The programme of the House of World Cultures will present a variety of forms of cultural expression in Central Asia: from the practices of the folk religions to the works of the avant-garde.

The social upheavals taking place in Central Asia are probably most manifest in the fine arts. Many artists draw their inspiration from Western cultural activities, which they interpret and radicalise; others assimilate elements from their own regional traditions, pointedly employing them as stylistic means. Performances and their mediaisation play a significant role in all this. The planned exhibition will present different positions within contemporary art in Central Asia.

E x h i b i t i o n

No Mad's Land
Contemporary Art from Central Asia
15 March - 20 May 2002

After 1991, a vital and explosive scene, which explored its newly found freedoms, emerged within the fine arts in Central Asia. Whilst the academic tradition of panel painting was unanimously rejected, the experimental arts took completely different directions. Their common denominator is their use and combination of all the media: from body performance to video, to multimedia installations and computer art. Artists are working in a field of tension involving extreme experiences. Seventy years of foreign domination have almost completely destroyed the traditions of pre-Soviet nomadic society. Today, however, these traditions are flowering again in the ethnological museums. On the other hand, a Western-oriented modernity has begun to emerge, oscillating between early capitalism, feudal-Soviet organisational structures and people?s individual experiences of freedom. The fine arts of the post-Communist states are political in the most immediate sense of the term, relating to the social conditions from which they have sprung. The artists are radical in their search for identity, responding by withdrawing into private mythologies, seeking traces of their own history, citing and simultaneously questioning nomadic traditions in the process. The exhibition will present some 25 contemporary artists from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan and Kyrgystan. The House of World Cultures plans to invite a number of artists to Berlin, where they will be given the opportunity to create works in a dialogue with everyday life in Europe.

C o n c e r t s

Crossroads of Asia
January to March 2002

Music plays an outstanding role in Central Asian cultures. In Central Asia, a centuries-old tradition of music exists alongside oral traditions of handing down history and stories. This has created fertile ground for a unique synthesis of music and poetry, words and sounds. Our music programme will be presenting very recent interpretations of musical traditions largely unknown here in Germany as well as of contemporary music. The Silk Road Project, initiated by the famous cellist Yo Yo Ma in 1998, is a fundamental part of the music programme.

F i l m S e r i e s

Siz Kom Siz: Who Are You?
9 March - 28 April 2002

The film series will concentrate on the countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Kyrgyzstan, devoting particular attention to developments within Central Asian cinema over the past ten years. The film series will comprise about twenty feature films and short films. It will primarily focus on very recent and current productions.

L e c t u r e
a n d
C o n f e r e n c e P r o g r a m m e

The lecture and conference programme will cover topics such as religion in Central Asia, the role of women in the process of social change, the development of democracy, the press and journalism as well as political issues to present a complex mosaic of geo-political interests and activities related to Central Asia.

L i t e r a t u r e
16 - 25 April 2002

Literature from Central Asia is more or less unknown in Germany. There are hardly any German translations, apart from specialised publications. Only the work of Kyrgyzstan Author Djingiz Aitmatov truly stands out among the region's literature. The literature programme of the House of World Cultures will be presenting new voices within literature from the region of Central Asia.

C h i l d r e n' s P r o g r a m m e
a n d
Y o u t h' s P r o g r a m m e

The children’s and youth’s programme aims to bring to life the symbolic contents of the silk road myth for young people with the aid of five concepts: language, landscape, transport, commodity and hospitality.

Author: Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Contact: Peter C. Seel

Link Eurasianet