A multi-media project examining the relationship between Central Asian invented traditions and folklore.

This project takes messages and themes from Central Asian folklore and recontextualises them to fit into a modern Central Asian narrative as a means of exploring the role that invented traditions have in the social makeup of the region. By inventing my own traditions and displaying them as icons (sound sculptures), this project provides further commentary on modern ecological and social issues that the region is currently going through, often ignored by figures of power in the region.

Punk Fake-Lore further presents itself as a means of countering the discourse and invented traditions created by those in power in modern Central Asia, where history and folklore is a goldmine for those seeking cultural justification for their consolidation of power, particularly in the ex-Soviet Republics. Kazakh sociologist Diana Kudaibergenova asserts that within Central Asia, guardianship over tradition becomes a powerful source of legitimation for those in power, who can proceed to skewer, manipulate and even invent whole new sets of traditions to bolster and justify their position of power. Central Asia is a mysterious part of the world for many, so much so that it provided the empty canvas for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat to create a set of invented traditions of an imaginary Kazakhstan, relying on the ignorance that Western audiences had on the region to play with fact and fiction.

By taking ownership of the process of inventing traditions through folklore, I attempt to counter the discourses of those in power in the region, by implementing a sense of transparency toward the folklore that I am manipulating in my process. Furthermore, by redirecting the messages in these traditions to focus on under-represented issues in the region—specifically ecological ones—I hope to bring these folklores to a modern relevancy, beyond blind nationalism.

Punk Fake-Lore consists of sound sculptures in which the audio is presented alongside the visual icon. In Central Asian folklore, oral forms of expression are an incredibly important method of recounting and absorbing traditions, thus the importance of sound, as well as visuals is equal in the project.

, ,
Jahan Xanlü