Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, North-South-East-West

North-South-East-West exhibited at IDAA Touring Show in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan in 2004.

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As part of the International Digital Art Awards Touring Exhibition, the North-South-East-West (DVD) was exhibited at the Kyrgyzstan State Museum of Fine Arts of  Bishkek Kyrgyzstan in 2004.

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Bishkek Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.

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Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the city centre, thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees which provide shade in the hot summers.

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Originally a caravan rest stop (possibly founded by the Sogdians) on one of the branches of the Silk Road through the Tian Shan range, the location was fortified in 1825 by the Uzbek khan of Kokhand with a mud fort.

The early 1990s were tumultuous. In June 1990, a state of emergency was declared following severe riots in southern Kyrgyzstan which threatened to spread to the capital. The city was renamed Bishkek on 5 February 1991 and Kyrgyzstan achieved independence later that year during the breakup of the Soviet Union. Before independence, Bishkek was a “Russified” city, the majority of its population being ethnic Russians. In 2004, Russians made up approximately 20% of the city’s population (only about 7–8% in 2011).

Today, Bishkek is a modernizing city, with many restaurants and cafes and lots of second-hand European and Japanese cars and minibuses crowding its streets. But streets and sidewalks have fallen into disrepair since the Russians started rapidly leaving in the 90s. At the same time Bishkek still preserves its former Soviet feel, with Soviet-period buildings and gardens prevailing over newer structures.

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