Strasbourg, February 2018

Artecitya outside EU: Almaty/Kazakhstan

“Waterstream” / ARTBAT FEST 2018

While writing Artecitya application in 2014, we have been planning cooperation outside the European Union to enrich our research and our actions and export some experiences on an unknown ground. The opportunity to work with a public art festival in Kazakhstan partners slowly became a concrete project.

After numerous preparatory and research trips, the international symposium “What is art without the city” co-organised by all Artecitya partners and the public art programme “Waterstream” curated by MoTA and Bellastock became the essence of the ARTBAT FEST 9 festival in Almaty in August-September 2018.

Waterstream as a central structural element underlying the urbanistic layout of Almaty. Water as a threat, but also as a structural and organizational agent in cities and human landscapes.

Waterstream as a main theme for the ARTBAT FEST 9, an open and fruitful topic for wide range of creators. As Water is the first vital resource, an element common and essential to all species, it brings questions from religion, geopolitics, energy, leisure & entertainment, science, spirituality. Furthermore, it can raise awareness of the audience about the cycles of matter.

ARTBAT FEST 9 joined Artecitya‘s vision of improving life in cities through artistic and technological innovations. Two open calls (TESLA Award and Waterstream KZ) were looking for artistic projects or ideas that incorporate water as a catalyst of economic / urbanistic / social change; water as a material; and reflecting on the connecting power of water in the social role of art.

The curators and Artecitya partners were especially interested in ideas for public space interventions, performances and installations that underline the potential of water to connect and destroy, movements of water, water as a natural force and water as a social catalyst as well as actions that are focused on creative approaches and playful solutions to activating public space, participation, co-habitation.

Public art programme included 10 installations:

– BridA art group from Slovenia created an interactive bridge on Esentai river,

– Italian artist Marco Barotti created a kinetic musical installation Swans,

– The work of Kazakhstani architect Asel Yeszhanova evokes the situation involving the Aral Sea,

and others.

Here is how Martin Bricelj Baraga felt about this project :

« When I first arrived to Almaty, it was a sudden love. Everything : people, environment, architecture that were so different and yet I felt the familiarity- a kind of strange cultural connection to Yugoslavia, the socialist country where I grew up and a natural connection to Slovenia – the similarity of nearby mountains and natural landscape.

When I accepted curating the public art program for ArtBat Fest, I knew it wasn’t an easy task- but it was definitely one of most interesting and engaging experiences… », « The biggest compliments we could have wished for were enthusiastic comments that some works really fit in the fountains and river and wish if they could stay there forever. Almaty – you’re so beautiful – hope to return soon! »

We want to thank all the participants and artists who helped the curators to make this project come true: Igor and Vladislav Sludskiy, Olga Veselova, Xeniya Zakharova, Sergei and the others from ArtBat. Igor Vuk , Simon Jacquemin, Arthur No, Antoine and the Paris team that has helped with pre-production of Lumitronome and Aryk-o-phone. The whole Artecitya crew. Tommy, Dasha and whole Synesthesia crew, the artists BridA/ Tom Kerševan, Sendi Mango, Jurij Pavlica, Marco Barotti, Asel Yeszhanova, and all other local artists who have realised so many amazing works!

Martin Bricelj Baraga, MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art
Simon Jacquemin, Bellastock