Gletschermusik (Glacier Music) uses the sounds and images of Central Asia’s melting glaciers as source material and inspiration.
Berlin’s Robert Lippok & Kyrgyz musician Askat Jetigen were invited to create an audio-visual performance and a series of concerts.
The project promotes the exchange between science and the arts, creating awareness of the human-induced deterioration of our pristine environment and was instigated by the Goethe-Institutes in Tashkent and Almaty.
This CD crowns the 12 month traveling festival through the countries of Central Asia in 2013 featuring multimedial concerts, promoting dialogue between artists, scientists, nationalities, genres and traditions.
The music Robert and Askat created together is magical and thematically relevant to the theme of melting glaciers, a fascinating blend of ancient Kyrgyz tradition and new musical ideas.
After the first concerts it was obvious that a recording must be made and released, and here we are: the Gletschermusik recordings, also featuring a track by pianist SooJin Anjou – the piano in dialogue with the sounds of Central Asia’s melting glaciers.
01 Below Zero
02 Boz Salkyn
04 Geologdun Yry
05 Winter into spring
06 Ming Kyal
07 Towards the glacier
09 Sary Oi
Gletschermusik (Glacier Music) uses the sounds and images of melting glaciers as a source of inspiration for art festivals, concerts, and an open call competition for art, video and sound installations. Instigated by the Central Asian Goethe-Institutes in Tashkent and Almaty, the project promotes the exchange between science and the arts, creating awareness of the human-induced deterioration of our pristine environment.
Retreating glaciers, rising sea levels, and shrinking lakes are some of the increasingly obvious consequences of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. This is particularly important for the people of Central Asia, whose water supplies depend on the region’s glaciers. In June 2012, the Goethe-Institute launched the Gletschermusik Project, a series of events which aims to create a space for regional and international cooperation between artists, scientists and environmental activists. Regional and international artists have been invited to explore common ground between art and science. The overall goal of the project is to provide an opportunity to exchange perceptions and experiences while seeking solutions to urgent environmental problems. In addition, the project reaches out to students through educational materials and exhibitions.
The project was inspired by an expedition to the Tujuksu glacier near the Kazakh city of Almaty. This expedition recorded the sounds of the melting glacier at an altitude of 3500m, placing highly sensitive microphones in the crevices of the glacier, capturing the melting process. Artists and journalists from Central Asia and Europe accompanied the expedition.
The recordings were made publicly available, marking a launching point for concerts and an open call for artists in the Central Asian region. In September 2012, the project went public with the first series of concerts featuring the Uzbek ensemble Omnibus, under the artistic direction of Artyom Kim and Lillevan. These concerts took place in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), and were accompanied by environmental workshops in each city.
Festival in Central Asia
The public competition received innumerable interesting proposals for artworks dealing with the topic, from which an international jury shortlisted 12 works for further development. The artistic director of the project, Berlin-based video artist Lillevan, traveled throughout Central Asia during 2013 to hold workshops with the artists and to discuss the realization of the most promising works. During May and June 2013, the Gletschermusik Project presented the winners of the competition, as well as invited regional and international artists, in exhibitions in all four capital cities, accompanied by large-scale concerts and workshops. In addition, the German Institute of Design issued a creative challenge for students, in the form of a graphic art competition, to communicate the issue of climate change and melting glaciers to young adults in Central Asia. The winning works formed part of the festival’s exhibitions as well.
As part of the Gletschermusik Project, the Goethe-Institute Tashkent hosted an international conference titled “The Melting of Glaciers: Insights and Expressions of a Global Phenomena” in January 2013.
The conference was held in the Uzbek National Library and brought together nearly 100 scientists, artists and environmental activists from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Germany.
Over the course of 2 days, participants discussed climate change in Central Asia from different perspectives. Music, video and sound art expressed the issue artistically, while scientists presented their most recent findings. For the closing event, the Omnibus Ensemble and Lillevan presented a special Glacier Music Symphony at Tashkent’s famous Ilkhom Theatre.
Glacier Music in Germany
In February 2013, Artyom Kim and Lillevan presented a specially commissioned performance, featuring a wall of melting ice, its sounds and images, as part of the festival “Unmenschliche Musik” at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
In autumn 2014, Glacier Music was invited to the “Climate and Culture” conference in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Central Asian and German artists were involved in this creative combination of exhibition and concert: Jerbosyn Meldibekow, curator Dastan Koschachmetow, media artist Lillevan, musicians Robert Lippok and Askat Jetigen.
Jerbosyn Meldibekow exhibited his work “The Ice of Melikades”. It consisted of a block of actual glacial ice, brought from his expedition to Putin Peak in Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2014. Meldibekow brought the ice installation from a small country to the big world, much like the merry Melkiades from Garcia Marquez’ novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, who travelled with a piece of ice to remote villages and presented it as one of the wonders of the world. Alluding to “Peak Putin”, Meldibekow remarked ironically, “Don’t Allow Putin’s Empire to Melt”.
Also at the conference, Lillevan created a video installation and, together with Johannes Dahl (former director of the Goethe-Institute Tashkent), presented the project in its entirety, describing its intention and effect over the Central Asian region, and provoking a lively discussion with the participants.
Robert Lippok, Askat Jetigen and Lillevan gave a multimedia performance, again featuring the sounds of the melting glaciers of Kazakhstan, and bringing together traditional Kyrgyz music and electronic composition.
The artists decided to create a lasting record of this special meeting; thus a second concert took place in the Kyrgyz city of Bishkek in summer 2015, where these original compositions were recorded and produced.