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Koktem Shaqyrady – The Spring is Calling


A virtual awareness project dedicated to rethinking the past, present, and future through the prism (and in the context) of the former NKVD* building in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

*NKVD stands for the People's Commissariat for Interior Affairs (a forerunner of the KGB). It was a political body that was responsible for mass repressions in the 1930s.

The show features series of site-specific installations, soundscapes, media artworks, and archival material presented in the timeline associated with the building and the political past.


The beginning of the 20th century on the territory of Kazakhstan was marked with suffering and anxiety. Numerous deaths resulted from the war, revolution, mass collectivization – people were experiencing hardships of repressions, and those who survived were left with fear for generations ahead. The history manifested in fear of choosing, however, it also provoked the striving to fight for people's rights.

The exhibit walks the visitor through different stages, contexts, and meanings. It combines the trauma of hardships and repressions juxtaposed with the borderless landscapes of nomadic culture. The visitor undergoes a journey from the dawn of nomadism that prevailed on the territory for centuries and towards the traumatic events of the 20th century, concluding the passage in the open space – the space where the choice is possible and call for action is the way to go further.

The show features four immersive zones:

> Inception

>Trauma zone

>Crisis and Rebirth

>Free Spirit 

Each space tells a particular story that relates to the subject of political past, and local identity.


Islam Kuanysh (Exposition ideologist, Exposition design, Architect, Co-founder of the Enternomads group)

Nadira Zhadyraeva (Art director, artist, Author of animation, Architectural designer, Co-founder of the enternomads group, Architectural designer)

Raim Tair (kinetic designer, maker, co-founder of the Enternomads group, IT specialist)

Aruzhan Shotay (animation artist)

Kristina Klimova (author of soundscape installation)

Zamanbek Mukasali (technical producer of the [non] museum of architecture, maker)

Yuri Afanasyev (maker)

Adil Azhiev (architectural designer, administrative support for the space of the [non] museum of architecture)

Anel Moldakhmetova (creative producer, curator of the [non] museum of architecture)

Yaroslav Samoylov (Motion design animation consultation)

Damir Mukhametov - photo documentation

Theodor Frost - Video documentation

Lena Pozdnyakova and Eldar Tagi (Curators, xLAB UCLA, Studio106LA)

Ivana Dama (Curator, ArtSCI UCLA, Studio106LA)


Alexandra Tsay (curator, researcher)

Selected projects: - co-editor of collective volume "Stalinism in Kazakhstan: History, Memory, and Representation", Lexington Books, 2021

- curator "Living Memory" exhibition, Almaty City Museum, November 2019. VR version -; Exhibition “Living Memory” is a continuation of the book Stalinism in Kazakhstan: History, Memory, Representation edited by Zhulduzbek Abylkhozhin, Mikhail Akulov, and Alexandra Tsay, Lexington Books, 2021. It is an approach to the study of collective memory and trauma through artistic media, an approach that overcomes text and employs what text cannot accommodate.  This exhibition is devoted to the study of collective memory of traumatic past in Kazakhstan, a past that still needs to be addressed, healed, reflected upon and remembered. The power relations, political violence, imposed silence and memory of innocent victims are issues addressed and raised through artistic practic

Dennis Keen (Lecturer on Kazakh history and culture in the Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures at UCLA)

Central Asia specialist Dennis Keen focuses on urban exploration and monumental art, and regional differences. He is a founder of "Walking Almaty" – an unusual guidebook to Kazakhstan's southern capital. Since 2019, Dennis lectures on Kazakh history and culture at UCLA.

About ArchCode

ArchCode Almaty is a public initiative and research project aiming at critical discussion and public engagement into architectural heritage preservation and collective memory issues. Archcode Almaty uses architecture as a tool to explore and expand community values and right for the city.

About Enternomads

Enternomads is an interdisciplinary, innovative team of artists, architects and IT professionals who experiment in the field of exhibition art in Kazakhstan. The team's projects, such as KOKTEM SHAQYRADY, are aimed at studying, influencing and overcoming the historically formed negative subconscious instincts of society.


About Non-Museum

[non] museum of architecture is a community space and a participatory museum of architecture based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. [non]museum of architecture aims at supporting emerging initiatives and community of architects, multidisciplinary artists, urban researchers, heritage preservation professionals by providing them space, moderation and tools to participate in critical discussion of the city architectural landscape and thus claiming their right for the city.

UCLA Art|Sci Center

The UCLA Art|Sci Center is dedicated to pursuing and promoting the evolving “Third Culture” by facilitating the infinite potential of collaborations between (media) arts and (bio/nano) sciences.

Through the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s Design Media Arts Department and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), the center supports visiting research scholars and artists-in-residence from around the world. Through various lectures, mixers, and symposia, artists and scientists are brought together in order to mesh these cultures and inspire individuals to think about art and science as interrelated and a very relevant synergism of society. The Art|Sci Center also hosts the Sci|Art NanoLab Summer Institute for high school students, introducing them to the vast possibilities in the field of art|science for the present and future generations.

Art|Sci Center is home to the Art|Sci Collective, an international group of researchers and creatives that develops projects, workshops, performances, and exhibitions that address social, ethical and environmental issues related to scientific innovations.

UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies

The Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS) has a long record of excellence in advancing innovative teaching, research, and public education that enhance knowledge of the languages, cultures, and societies of modern and contemporary Europe and Russia. Drawing on the widely renowned expertise of our affiliated faculty and visiting scholars, CERS programs support the development of new generations of experts, foster international scholarly exchange and collaboration, and generate new insights into the complex issues that confront Europe and Russia and, in turn, impact both transatlantic and global relationships.

UCLA Asia Pacific Center: UCLA Program on Central Asia

The UCLA Program on Central Asia (PoCA), established in 2008, is led by the Asia Pacific Center (APC) and directed by Professor Domenico Ingenito (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures).

Mission Statement

The UCLA Program on Central Asia (PoCA) promotes the interdisciplinary and interregional study of Central Asia and the regions that surround it, including Western China, the Himalayas, Russia and eastern Europe, South Asia, and the Persianate world. PoCA serves as an ‘intellectual crossroads’ for scholars working on India, China, the Middle East, and Europe to exchange ideas with specialists on Central Asia and advance scholarship and understanding of the region. PoCA sponsors guest speaker series and conferences, the Central Asia Workshop for students and faculty, and courses on Central Asian studies and languages.


Located on the west end of Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, Studio106LA provides artists with a unique backdrop where the history of Los Angeles as a center of cultural transition, movement, and exchange is always palpable.

Since fall 2020 we have opened Studio106LA’s virtual space to the public, we had a number of contrasting shows. With the shift to an online platform, we have opened the path to a new series of important projects that we have called  “online awareness projects." These were the projects that  connected us with the world and connected the world to us.




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