Eurasian Cultural Alliance Public Association
Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty
Nurmakov str, 79

For all inquires please contact
School of Artistic Gesture
Zeroing virus
Spring 2020
online educational project to support young artists
Co-curators: Yulia Sorokina and Olya Veselova
Tutors: Zhibek Karamanova, Alexey Ulko, Olya Kroytor, Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, Yulia Sorokina, Olya Veselova

Managers: Bayan Shaikh & Lev Tarikov

Made Possible with the Support of Soros Foundation Kazakhstan
Eurasian Cultural Alliance is pleased to present the fourth School of Artistic Gesture called Zeroing Virus. We continue exploring alternative art practices in a transforming world.
The coronavirus has disturbed a significant part of our past and the ideas throguh which we percieved life. After the 2008 crisis of derivatives the Economist started using the term "new normal", understood as the development of a situation in conditions of uncertainty, and in fact, the collapse of the economy. We are now forced to live and build models of the future based on short-term today's agenda. No one can feel confident in giving long-term estimates.

Oddly enough, the "new normal" opens niches and floodgates for artistic exploration. Artists have a unique opportunity to cultivate different narratives and strategies - fresh or at least refreshed. Above all, we now can think about new challenges of the time.

The main challenge is to learn how to live with the virus, to develop a collective immunity capable of withstanding the pandemic and the subsequent crisis. The technological challenge is no less important - the digital revolution, which has been developing for so long, grew stronger as a result of self-isolation. Humanity was surprised to find that it is completely ready for the transition to virtual reality. It turned out that you can make and use an interesting artistic product within the walls of your home.

Distant learning is the challenge of the future. It became clear that online education is okay and it works. There was a rearrangement of values. Digital technology has become the norm, and offline human communication is a luxury. Another change in the humanitarian paradigm has came to stay. Now it is important to reflect on what has happened. Artists, who are often serve as visionaries of the humanitarian thought, were at the frontier of the pandemic.
Along with epidemiologists and virologists, artists will have to act by groping, at random, intuitively; try a new language, new style, new space; accept challenges and time limits.

How does a zero-time artistic gesture look like? What strategies do the authors put forward? What does the artist's personality look like? How and where to make an exhibition? What to teach a young artist now? These are the questions outlining the range of problems on the new agenda of the School of Artistic Gesture. In the process of work, we decided to name the new SAG project - "Zeroing Virus", combining two relevant phenomena - a pandemic that gripped humanity and the desire of the authorities of all countries to "zero" the democratic values of modern civilization.

The strategy of the SAG in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic was lined up in accordance to the circumstances of the time. We decided to use archival materials - lectures by prominent participants in the art process of previous editions of the School of Artistic Gesture. In conjunction with the lectures, from April to June 2020, Youtube streams were held, where co-curators Yulia Sorokina and Olya Vesselova discussed important points on the agenda of the educational process and answered questions from the audience. All lectures and streams (which, incidentally, were translated into Kazakh) are available online.

On streams, members also received assignments that were uploaded and discussed on the group's Facebook page. As a result, interesting works of art, recordings of the panel discussions, and reflections on the lock down were made.

Yuliya Sorokina
PhD, researcher, lecturer, teacher at the Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts, independent curator of contemporary art.
Ponomoryova Anastasia
video collage, 19 seconds
After the release from quarantine, many people will have huge stocks of mass protection, the news has engendered fear of a lack of food and now there is nowhere to store what was taken as reserve. All this cannot be mastered alone, there is so much in total that the only way to store it is to preserve the rest, like pickles for the winter.
Ponomareva Anastasia
Restarting Life
animation video, 60 seconds

In the highly technological world, when one spends a lot of time online, the differences between the real and the virtual are increasingly blurred. Humanity no longer wants to live here and now, and does not try to fix it mistakenly - it just looks for the "Restart" button and starts to go through everything from a blank page. Instead, just press the EXIT button to log out of someone's game and enter the real world.
Turan Nurgozhin
An Infinite House
photography, collage, VR, 41 seconds
Marshall McLuhan's "Global Village" had long been perceived as a positive symbol of humanity's technological progress. Although, recent events have united people through social media and video conferences, the same events negatively affected society's presence in the real world. My artwork actualizes McLuhan's concept to modern reality, showing the people's loss of control over space and time in the days of quarantine.
Victoria Erofeeva and Timur Mirzakhmedov
We go for Bread
digital photography
From March 23, 2020, movement without personal protective equipment (masks) is prohibited throughout the Republic of Uzbekistan. Being in public places without a mask, contrary to the special requirements of the authorized body, entails the imposition of a fine up to five times the size of the minimal wage, in accordance with Article 54 of the Code of Administrative Responsibility "(requirements for citizens published in official state sources). Today these requirements have become partly a commonplace. However a year ago, in a compartment with closed shops and cafes, stopped transport, forced vacations and growing lack of money, it all seemed a dystopian dream. Two people were locked in a studio apartment and put on their masks.
Meruert Temirbekova
Steppe Intervention
digital print, oil on paper, 70 x 50 cm each
The series is based on the study of the steppe, namely the boundless desert space. Steppe and man, space and object - the interaction of these two concepts for me is a reflection of a certain minimalism found in the steppe.
Evgeniya Pyatova
Find 50 Differences
acrylic, cardboard, liners, markers, animation
Before you there is a transformation, as before the pizza lid was a stand for sauces, and it has now become a canvas. Set up a comfortable and safe social distance manually. Compare your life BEFORE and DURING quarantine, as in the game "Find 50 Differences", so that after discovering what is important, after the quarantine is lifted, integrate your findings into everyday life, along with the joyful feeling that you have coped with this
Evgeniya Pyatova
And Yet Spring
paper, acrylic, pastel, animation
I think that we all are faced with a slightly more demanding self-manifestations than we normally are; the need to choose what to do with our time and what is the trajectory to direct our efforts to. And also my spring is about cycles and the confidence that we can change everything, and what is beyond our power often passes, slowly and not always easily, but passes ... like winter. And something new starts in the end. And the repetition of these cycles is reliable and regular, which means that you can rely on this and use this knowledge as a resource for life.
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Marion
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Shifaaz
Ravshan Ta Jing
Kitchen Landscape
digital photo series

The situation around the world in self-isolation makes us to look at the world in fresh ways as well as at household objects and things, discovering previously unseen plots and meanings. The artwork brings us back to the issues of self-identification in the context of the socioeconomic crisis, overall globalization, digitization, as well as it describes the author's personal fears of future changes.

Photo by Jacob
Photo by Jacob
Photo by Leio
Photo by Jacob
Delilah Kanagat
digital photography

Everything in the universe is cyclical, starting from life itself: dawn-development-sunset-zeroing.

Delilah Kanagat
mini sculptures made of sculptural plastic, 10 cm high
Kazakhs are a freedom-loving people who have initially, for more than seven hundred years, been fighting for their freedom, but someone or something constantly prevents them from achieving it. Three mini-sculptures from sculptural plasticine. By analogy with sanzaru - three monkeys "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I will not tell anyone." But in balbals, parts of the face are not covered with hands, but with a blue piece of cloth.

Ramil Niyazov
Paint, triptych
painted artworks in the "Paint" application
For me quarantine was both too rich and too poor of a time, and of course it is not about money. Returning from my studies in Russia to my home in Almaty in the midst of the plague, I, like everyone else, found myself locked in a finite space for (potentially) infinite time with an infinite amount of information in my computer, which for a while became my Beatrice in this Dante Hell. All this aroused in me a strong interest in classical Islamic miniature, calligraphy and ornamentation, which often did not need Diego Rivera's style murals, but just one line was enough to tell something very important.
Of course, I do not compare myself with Behzad, but we do not live under the Righteous Caliphate either. This strange and gnarled triptych, of course, is perceived by the elders as child's play, but any great five-year-old artist (all five-year-old artists are great) that the gnarled lines in Paint are the most important thing in his life. I, of course, could have made it all much more "correct" and not so crooked, but, firstly, I left it to adults (there is no stronger insult in the language of children, this is their n-word), and secondly, the ink of scientists will be accepted only if they are mixed with blood, and none of us has any blood left.
Timur Mirzakhmedov
Self-isolation Diary
digital drawings
This series of drawings mirrors personal fears and anxieties. I wanted to somehow express the feeing of unknown and it became possible due to the creative flow. This is why I titled my artwork like that, because it is something private, it is a reflection, still there are more questions than answers. It was joyful to make those drawings, each viewer can find something for them in it.
Battle Scene, KARMA series
collage, animation, sound, 30 x 42 cm
The poor remain poor because he was born poor. Its emptiness will never be filled.
KARMA collage series

Piss off
2020, collage, 40 x 60 cm

Ohh ...
2020, collage, 30 x 42 cm

Sweet, Sweet Junk
2020, collage, 40 x 60 cm

The «KARMA» collage series reflect artist's experience as a member of a modern local society, living between diverse domestic, aesthetic, intellectual, economic and political contexts, as well as its simultaniouse collision and misalignment of these contexts that gives artworks their friction and poignancy.

Daria Temirkhan
video, sound, 1 minute

I changed my voice, slowed it down, accelerated it, put it in different octaves, and so on, until it ceased to be like my voice. I tried to find the sound of my self
Alexandra Kalacheva
Leave Yourself, Not the Room
video, 2:15 minutes
During the pandemic, I did not leave the house for a month. I really wanted to go outside, meet my friends, take a walk around the city. But that was impossible. Forced self-imprisonment was like a prison, a prison in which almost the entire civilized world suddenly found itself. It was necessary to fill the missing gaps in my daily routine. I began to look for something that could help me to dispel the longing for the fresh spring wind. And unexpectedly for myself, I began to practice meditation. It was a method of cognition completely unexplored by me. At the same time every day, I meditated for 28 days.

What I felt during these sessions was inconsistent with my ideas about relaxation and meditation. For me it was a way out of a confined space. My mind finally traveled, leaving my body, and everything faded into the background, there was only silence and a bright glow of distant galaxies. But, there was something else, I felt a strange force, I was twisted and stretched, as if I had no bones and muscles, I was clay that could take any shape. This strange, almost physical phenomenon deprived of all thoughts, all problems. I was here and now at this moment in time. The video shows how my face is distorted in the process of meditation. A process that I could not control.

Meditation that helped me to leave my body without leaving the room.
Alexandra Kalacheva
Vseya Malevich
video, 00:48 seconds
Animated dialogue about contemporary art. The variable constant is Malevich, his Black Square that has been and will always be.

Co-curators: Yulia Sorokina and Olya Vesselova

Tutors: Alexey Ulko, Bekzhan Meirbayev, Alexander Zhuravlev, Aida Adilbek, Ainura Kanguzhina, Olya Vesselova, Vladislav Sludskiy, Yulia Sorokina

Managers: Bayan Shaikh & Lev Tarikov
Eurasian Cultural Alliance is pleased to present the fifth edition of the School of Artistic Gesture titled Qily Zaman. We continue to explore alternative art practices in a transforming world.

School of Artistic Gesture is a platform for gaining new knowledge about contemporary art, as well as an opportunity for self-expression as well as social engagement. The project was created for talented youth in different cities and small town across the country. This is a way of developing critical thinking and an attempt to support the formation of creative skills through the actualization and establishment of a dialogue between different sectors of society.

The name qily zaman (era of changes) originates in the philosophy of the first Kazakh thinker Asan Kaigy (late 15th century - 1460s). Asan Kaigy is a philosopher who developed the first Kazakh utopia Zheruiyk - where there is no place for hunger and disease, enmity and hatred. Equality and universal material prosperity reign there.

If Asan Kaigy were our contemporary, then most likely his values would fit into the International Bill of Human Rights. Despite the fact that humanity is familiar with them, the observance of rights is still in question.
Why do we, knowing and declaring each other's fundamental rights, still violate them? It may be that in order to accept and apply it is not enough just to know, it is important to be aware and exercise them. Awareness and use affect not only the rational part of a person, but also the emotional one. Art is the only kind of activity that works with both rationality and emotions. Through artistic images, it is able to influence the minds and hearts.

In response to the current global social, economic, political and environmental situation in which we find ourselves, this program creates models for more relevant ways of knowing and working in art communities. The program discussed recent changes in the art world, the interpenetration of the global and the local, interaction with technology and innovative structures.

For three months, from September 28th to December 20th, 2020, video lectures in Kazakh and Russian languages, meetings with curators and artists, discussions and practical tasks were available on our You Tube channel. In conclusion, the School's participants created their own artifacts for a physical exhibition that is taking place in August 2021.

Olya Vesselova
Philosopher and curator, advises on contemporary art in public spaces, director of the ARTBAT FEST contemporary art festival.

My Walikhanov
animation video, 15 seconds

At school we were asked to make an essay about Shoqan Walikhanov. I did not have the Internet back then, so I took several books about Mr. Walikhanov from a library. The more I learned, the more I admired. In the end, I was already even slightly in love with him. I think no one would have resisted an aristocrat, scientist, traveler, artist, etc. But, perhaps, if I just read an article on Wikipedia, then this effect would have not happened. Talking about history, especially in school, is often sinful of uni-polarity, smoothing out sharp corners and uncomfortable moments. The result is a comfortable place that looks like an informational bubble border line propaganda targeting rather naive mins of children.
Peace Fist
video, 18 seconds
They say "if one door is closed, another opens", but what if it closes faster than it is possible to enter it?
North Face x Uyghurs
photos, T-shirt, North Face, note, clip,
In November 2020, a buyer of The North Face shoes in Saint Petersburg
found a paper that read: "Help, I'm in a prison in China, please help the Uyghur." The company initially treated the message as spam, however, soon an internal investigation was initiated. According to them, the pair of shoes they bought has never been in China. Many global brands are directly or indirectly benefit from Uyghur forced labor.
Daria Temirkhan
Azamat 2000/ Citizen 2000
acrylic on canvas, 100 x 160 cm
The artwork is an exact copy of my ID on canvas. The idea of me as a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic and my identity completely correspond to each other. The absence of a conflict with the document that was assigned to me by default disarms me.
Daria Temirkhan
I am Kazakh
The artwork «I am a Kazakh» was done in google translate to show how gender-neutral Kazakh is translated into Russian. Despite the fact that we gained independence a long time ago, the issue of language is still actual. Such heated discussions on the topic of colonialism would not have existed if the Kazakh language had been widespread.
Violetta Bogdanova
Circle of Action
pencil on canvas, each 50 x 50 cm
The problem of comprehending and using the law lays in the misunderstanding of its source and necessity. Your rights end where another person's rights begin. This statement is a fundamental principle of law; we are not free in all of our actions. However, we have a certain range of possibilities acceptable withing a certain context. In an ideal world, the circles divide existing freedoms equally. One who goes beyond his own circle crosses the border of another one's circle - this is an offense. Understanding everyone, when one's circle is intact, when it is crossed voluntarily, when it is expanded, and when it is surrounded by another circle, is the first step towards understanding the rule of law.
Aigerim Tumenbay, with technical support from Aida Isakhankyzy
single channel video, 55 seconds
The cultural code inherited from the ancestors carries basic information about their mentality and values. It inevitably intertwines with the issue of one's identity and in turn passes it on to the new generations.
Our cultural marks have undergone significant changes, particularly in the context of the last 3 centuries, upon joining the Russian Empire. In the realities of modern Kazakhstan, certain questions naturally arise: how could our code have looked earlier? What happened to it after succumbing to outside influence? In the course of examining these issues, we were faced with the question of the code's authenticity and what makes it so. Which aspects of it can be interpreted as genuine and is what we have at the moment valid?
This work is an experiment and imagines how codes from the past are adopted, transformed and influence our identity today.

Aidana Kulakhmetova
carpet weaving, plastic bags, 100 x 200 cm
The tapestry draws a parallel between carpets on the one hand, which were so prized in the Soviet times and were an indicator of wealth, and plastic on the other hand, which is rapidly spreading around the world. Man is the creator of his own life, he weaves this very «tapestry» and grows over it. But the question is, will he be proud of his creation in10 years? Would you like a «tapestry» to your home that would poison your air, oppress you with its vulgarity and toxicity?

Aidana Kulakhmetova
Consumer Bag
carpet weaving, checks, 40 x 60 cm

In 2019, I completed a 4-month study in Italy, Florence, under the academic mobility program. For the report, the leadership of the Kazakh University recommended that we keep boarding passes, documents and all kinds of receipts. Following the advice, I began to gradually "grow" with these checks. We had a small budget, so they didn't assemble as quickly, but it was enough to make a small consumer bag out of them. This work is a reflection on the role, meaning and place of the consumer in the modern world.

Aidana Kulakhmetova
book and pen
I think that many of you have had such moments in your life when you felt they were right, but due to the lack of awareness of their own, unfortunately, you could not prove it and support it with compelling arguments. A similar situation happened to me in one of the Magnum supermarkets. Of course, most of it was played by the fact that I'm not a conflicting person
and always try to avoid these situations. But it was on that day when I strongly felt my
helplessness and legal illiteracy. This artwork will allow anyone to register a claim in the book "reviews and wishes", which for some reason they did not dare to write down or, perhaps, they just forgot to do it and left. She will help some people feel their importance in this world, become more brave and maybe even just learn how to fill out the complaint book correctly. The first page of the book contains a complaint on my behalf, which became for me the first experience in filling out such documents. A box of Raffaello chocolates is a reference to my story.

Aidana Kulakhmetova
Transformation or Childhood, Adolescence, Boyhood
This artwork documents personal life through the process of the conversion of wool to felt. The traditional production of felt fabric consists of several stages. At the first stage after shearing the sheep, the masters manually clean the wool from dirt, debris and dust. This stage can be compared with the moment when parents put all their strength and knowledge into a child, transforming them into a clean, snow-white felt, in order to create the perfect felt canvas.
The fragment shown in the photographs were part of my graduation project, which had been in the closet of my room for a long time. To date, the canvas has been deformed, having acquired its own curves and its own personal history. This, it seems to me, is the next stage of life, namely, filling the canvas with meaning.
Ykylas Shaikhiev
video, 2 minutes 19 seconds

The 100 tenge coin has 3 sides: Obverse, Reverse and Side unconscious side. A swirling coin transforms all symbols and designations into one subtle entity.
Meruert Temirbekova
mixed media, paper, 35 x 25 cm each
This series of portraits was painted during the outbreak of the pandemic last spring. A time of ambiguous emotions, anxiety, fear and silence. Rethinking seemingly simple things take on a completely different meaning. These portraits are like fleeting phenomena that convey the ephemeral life and the being.
Ilyas Kurmangaliev
Head in a Voice
video collage,1 minute 20 seconds
Fragment of A. Suleimenov speech with the poem "Earth, Bow to Man", a fragment of D. Prigov's speech with the poem "Kulikovo field", digital reproduction of K. Mullashev's painting "Morning".

Patron of the Program