Ljubljana, September 2018

ARTBAT FEST 9 Public Art Project: WaterStream

Almaty, Kazakhstan

24 August – 12 September 2018

New interactive art installations transformed the water streams of Almaty at ARTBAT FEST – an open-air art festival in Kazakhstan.

‘When we first arrived to Almaty, the first thing I noticed was a kind of capillar system- a channel system of Aryks. These seem to be omnipresent in the city – transforming certain streets into peaceful walking paths (…). We later realised this kind of planning was due to the proximity of a glacier – Almaty is positioned below the high mountains – which in the past represented a great danger to the citizens of Almaty. Adding a river to this, you really feel the water stream present in this city – it is almost like blood that keeps the city going, with the glacier in the mountain, making it a distant and hidden heart of the city.’

– Martin Bricelj Baraga, curator

Five new interactive artworks transformed the area of the Esentai river in Almaty into an open-air museum and invited local habitants to experience their river, channels (locally known as “aryks”), riverbanks and fountains like never before. From water and sun powered kinetic sculptures to an open air sound gallery and explorations of tech waste and water data visualisation, this selection brought together multimedia installations presented for the first time in Kazakhstan as part of the ninth edition of ArtBat Fest’s Public Art Project, taking place in Almaty on the theme of Water Stream.

MOTA – Museum of Transitory Art and Bellastock have teamed up to commission and curate an experiential journey that reflects on the importance of water in the cities. Site specific public space artworks from Kazakh and international artists using water as a structural element have been selected by curators Martin Bricelj Baraga (MoTA) and Simon Jacquemin (Bellastock).

Bellastock and MoTA have commissioned two new artworks, ‘Aryk-o-phone’ – a river instrument played by the Esentai river itself, and ‘Lumitronome’ – a solar powered kinetic light installation that illuminated the beautiful Nedelka fountain.

Swans – a kinetic sound installation using tech waste by Italian artist Marco Barotti, and Vodoskop – an interactive bridge capturing and visualising live water data over the river Esentai by Slovenian collective BridA were presented as the 2 winning artworks of TESLA Award 2018. In its first installation abroad, MoTA’s open-air sound gallery Arcade Sound Gallery revived the riverbank with a subtle sound intervention, a composition by acclaimed Japanese vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita.

Arcade Gallery: Masayoshi Fujita (photo: Misha)