Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Bishkek Street Art Project (Part 1)
Kendal and I wanted to achieve two things during our trip:
1. Work with the artists and volunteers in Bishkek to create a new identity for the Bishkek Art Center, previously known as the City of the Artists.
2. Create a public art project relevant for the people in Bishkek.
We were in a great shape with our first objective. We had the new name, a great logo and many creative ideas for B'Art (Bishkek Art Center). We still didn’t have any idea for the public art project. Here was our challenge: It had to be inexpensive (less than a few hundred dollars), easily executed within three days, and accessible to the general public (something simple and visual).
I started to look at the streets for any inspiration: Walls, garbage cans, ads… typical things any city offers. I wondered, “What is unique about the streets of Bishkek?” The answer was found on people. I realized many people on the street were in a squatting position. While it’s a rather uncomfortable position for most of people in the West, squatting is a very natural position for people in Kyrgyzstan. They socialize, relax and wait while crouching down, with their knees sticking up. They even do their business in bathrooms squatting, a nightmare for people who are not used to it.
For people in squatting position on the streets, their vantage point is low, so I wanted to create a piece which was small and placed low on the streets. But what?