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"Jelilik Dala/Web Steppe" by Medina Bazargali


"Jelilik Dala/Web Steppe," immerses visitors in a world of vertigo, where technological mediation intertwines with irony, virtuality, and complexity. This exhibition, unveils the artistic realm of Medina Bazargali, a dynamic multidisciplinary artist born in independent Kazakhstan in 2001. With a foundation in computer science and software engineering, Bazargali's debut solo exhibition unfolds as a thought-provoking journey through seven carefully curated works spanning the last five years.


Bazargali's artistic practice delves into the complexities of contemporary existence, weaving together threads of radioactive colonial remnants, political cyber-tools, the digital revolution, co-existential resistance to patriarchy and techno-capitalism, and an in-depth exploration of Kazakh identity. Through irony and exaggeration, the artist navigates the intricate tapestry where the Internet, new algorithmic superstructures, and (post)-totalitarian regimes converge.


Digital technologies are inseparable from the material realities underwriting them. Medina Bazargali's works grasp points of power and powerlessness in both realms, unfolding knowledge as effective interventions in our jointly composed reality. Rejecting a binary perspective, her use of algorithm, sound, and cyber-tools is linked to a decolonial and political thinking where women, queers, and the non-binary play an unparalleled role.


The selection of artworks encompasses a diverse range of mediums, including algorithm, sound, installation, and felt. This multimedia approach allows Bazargali to engage with the nuances of each theme, offering viewers a multi-sensory experience that encourages contemplation and dialogue.


Bazargali skillfully intertwines colonial stiffness, the digital revolution, and the revival of qazaq identity(qazaqness) in her creations. Like a 3-in-1 product on supermarket shelves, the exhibition invites viewers to consider the intricate relationships between seemingly disparate elements, prompting reflection on the layers of digital narratives shaping our collective understanding of physical and digital landscapes.


The exhibition itself comprehends as a mobile and intricate network of transits between different polarities. As pragmatists, we invite contamination as a mutational driver between frontiers, positioning "Jelilik Dala/Web Steppe" not only as a showcase of Medina Bazargali's artistic prowess but also as a catalyst for reflection on the evolving layers of digital narratives shaping our collective understanding of reality.


Olar Collective 




video, 9' 57''

Mold is one of the main participants in the process of biocorrosion and biodegradation of living tissue. Mold colonizes matter saturated with proteins, growing within the boundaries of which, it can appear as a green fungus on its surface.

Completely detaching myself from my real self, it becomes a third person, an arbiter god, who experiments with laboratory conditions: it uses a dry fermented milk product (obtained using milk metamorphoses) as a matter to be colonized and carefully creates special conditions for the deformation of this matter. The experiment touches upon two studies: historical (the process of colonization of the steppe by the Russian empire) and practical (the process of colonization of the product with mold). Both studies consist of 5 stages of complete absorption.

Mold does not have an exclusively negative effect on the Kurt: it could bring useful properties to matter itself and remain noble if stopped at one of the early stages of colonization. However, the history of Qazaqstan showed that the main modus operandi of this mold is the colonization of a large part of the matter to absorb the largest amount of nutrients.

At the end of the experiment, all visible elements of the sporules were removed. But the superficial decolonization shown in the video inevitably runs into a fatal error - mold toxins became fundamental in the matter. Even if they are not visible, they have reserved the opportunity to reappear in the foreseeable future as well as the political institutions in contemporary Qazaqstan that are living proof of colonial political heritage - authorities still see people from the point of view of colonizers, extracting resources and preserving the authoritarian/totalitarian regime. 


2. beyotar beybiynarlı beybit bolacaq ücin - a safe space manifesto

for a decolonized nonbinary peaceful future 

Wool, felt



In defiance of bureaucratic barriers and the stifling hand of authority, this artwork stands as a testament to resilience, reclaiming the space denied for expression. Originally intended as a banner for the March 8th protest, this piece now finds its voice within the sanctuary of an exhibition space, echoing the spirit of resistance in a decolonized, nonbinary, and peaceful future. Crafted with the technique of my ancestors - felt making, a practice passed to me through my ancestors, holds a genuine significance to me. It was a means of survival for my grandmother, providing for her four children as they left Akmola camp for wives of traitors in 1952. Meanwhile, my great-grandfather from my mother's side researched this material - the wool - as a scientist.

Beyond the heritage, this work carries a narrative of hope. It bears witness to the scars of colonization, acknowledging the wounds imposed upon our collective consciousness. The rejection of the gender binary for me stands as a defiance against the patriarchy, while the specter of wars across the globe casts a shadow of uncertainty over the future.

With this slogan, I dare to dream of a world transformed. This work envisions a future where healing and compassion win over cruelty. It is a cry for resistance. The future remains unknowable, shaped only by collective strength. As viewers engage with this piece, they are invited to observe and immerse themselves in its message of hope. Amidst the harsh realities of the present, this artwork serves as a place to rest and dream about a better future, even if reality and past are often very traumatic.



3. basıma qoc keldin



This sound piece emerges from the aftermath of the traumatic events of January 2022. 

I was having panic attacks constantly and started exploring the new medium - sound and music. It felt like it was the only thing that could calm me down, so it had a therapeutic effect. Welcome to my head.



4. alienation of history


video documentation of performance

The Manifesto of Alash Orda in Qazaq is typed with a Russian keyboard. The neural network of auto-correction within the PC turns every Qazaq word into a misspelled Russian one. This project attempts to reconstruct the level of superficiality of the Soviet authorities concerning the voice of national liberation. Speaking about the alienation of the workers under capitalism, authorities missed an important point - the alienation of the peoples of the Soviet Union from themselves, from their language, and history. 






internet installation, visual coding (PD)

For centuries, people unconsciously shifted the burden of choice to structures and mechanisms, the work of which, in their opinion, perfectly defined the world and its order. The human brain has a great gift for noticing patterns. For example, our nomadic ancestors could determine which way to move by the position of stars. In our media era, navigation by the stars turned into spam applications in social networks, that “help” people determine a happy marriage or material prosperity. One of these is an infinite set of uniformed “love-testers”, that is taking responsibility off the person by shifting it to the internet magical thinking. It’s an accident as a superstructure that is responsible for the lack of logical connection in the decisions of the computer and in the beliefs of people. This is why my format is a game that works on a similar principle: it’s programmed for absolute randomness when choosing any two ru from two yurts. 



motherboard, the MRI of my uterine tubes

The technical world has won and new people lack the usual existence given from their birth. For me, there is a semiotic game with a basis for any electronic machine and a narrow perception of the "board" that “constructs” human life, and the intertext with Courbet in the new technological era of the world origin from the motherboard - all this forms my understanding of virtuality by the second, new birth.







interactive installation

personal data, coding, PC, webcam and printer, small architectural form

Last century’s repressions were reflected in the modern world by several consequences - tens of thousands of people today are descendants of political prisoners, and there are numerous monuments of cruelty within the post-Soviet space - the former buildings of the NKVD. Each of them is similar - thousands of identical wards, punishment chambers, and interrogation rooms. Today spaceless and pressing chambers are used as storerooms. The buildings themselves are turned into administration houses, schools, universities, and hospitals. These disciplinary spaces are an integral part of the institution of fear. Fear of the system dehumanizes the person down to the numerical value denoting the number of a record.

In this work, I also apply various frightening scenarios of development at the time of the digital revolution and the first contact of the state apparatus and the punitive-judicial structure with new technologies. An example of such is China, where new algorithmic technologies are becoming a part of the authoritarian regime, aiming to suppress and control. Inside this installation, the viewer finds himself in a dual state: he experiences physical discomfort inside the pressing room and he is left alone with an all-consuming machine that manufactures a physical proof of its power. In this space, the social "Self" of a person is reduced to a simple piece of paper/dossier/record/sentence.

The project consists of several main parts:

- soundproof closed interrogation room, which corresponds to the parameters of the psychologically pressing sidewalls in the buildings of the People's Commissariat;

- neural network trained on civil, administrative, and criminal codes and constitutions of all non-free republics of the former Soviet Union;

- imitation committed by the police officers - external evaluation of gender and age, followed insinuated a note in the Protocol about hiding personal data;

- personal data sheet;






wool carpet (wool, human hair, felt)


Today the Kazakh ornament often loses its semiotic function, becoming an ordinary decoration. But as an example of the messages it conveyed we can consider the traditional felt carpet, the tekemet. The stolen or sold bride sent a real letter to her family, in which information was encrypted inside the ornament - parents could find out anything: from the number of cattle in the groom's house to the emotional state of kelin (the bride). In my project, I decode the ancient meaning of the carpet and encrypt my personal feelings before marriage by means of the Internet page code of the email to my parents. The syntax of my message is my composition. Its semantics are my perspective.

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