Interview with Zoja Falkova
Zoya Falkova and Barbara Fraenkel-Thonet © Goethe-Institut Almaty
It happened during the installation of the exhibit. There were a few workers, who would normally not pay much attention to art. I found it surprising when they jumped around and played with the installation in order to create sounds. This reflected the principal intention of my installation - to reach people and to provide them with a space to experience new things.
How intensely have you paid attention to the issue of melting glaciers in the region before you took part in the project “Glacier Music”?
Glacier Music is the third environmental project organized by the Goethe-Institute in which I participated. I am also a strong supporter of the civil movement "Protect Kok-Jaylyau" that seeks to prevent the construction of the new ski resort in Kok-Jailau valley. This initiative is also closely linked to the issue of melting glaciers in the region.
One of the main goals of the project “Glacier Music” is to raise awareness of environmental issues, especially of the melting glaciers in Central Asia. To what extent can art contribute to this process?
Awareness is comparable to a virus. It is spreading drop by drop. It is a rather slow process but it needs to be started somewhere. Here, art plays a significant role. It provides people with a creative space in which they might be able to find answers to questions, or at least stimuli for rethinking some matters. It is possible to reach people through art in a playful and joyful manner, even when dealing with difficult and complex issues.
What may the future bring for glaciers in Central Asia?
I think the old Indian proverb holds true: "Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." The planet has already moved towards increasingly fragile conditions. Two degrees Celsius global warming may not sound like a big deal, but the impact, especially on glaciers, is disastrous. Even if people start caring about environmental issues, it is not motivated by altruistic reasons but more by their self-centeredness, which brings us back to the proverb!
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