Our author Ani Menua had a closer look at Dieter Seitz’ Kazakhstan Project titled “Nomads Land” published by Hatje Cantz Publishing Berlin.
Kazakhstan is one of the largest countries on our planet. Due to its size, the country has many natural zones that give it a varied and colorful face. There are steppes, forest steppes as well as semi-deserts that provide a rich biodiversity in general. Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic state, with its population made up of Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Uighurs, Tatars and Germans. During Soviet rule, the country had to survive several catastrophes that killed many people. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan also declared its independence and embarked on the path of transformation from a socialist to a capitalist order.
“Kazakhstan is one of the largest countries on our planet. Due to its size, the country has many natural zones that give it a varied and colorful face.”
How hard such a transformation process can be for a state and its population is documented by the photographer Dieter Seitz in the Kazakhstan Project titled “Nomads Land”, which dealt intensively with the culture and people of the country over a period of seven years. In addition to the diversity of people, he captures precisely those moments that are symptomatic of a transition from one form to the next. What becomes visible is curiosity and the absurdity of the symbiotic connection of the socialist and capitalist elements that are visible in everyday life: A club named VIP in Kapshagaj, which is Kazakhstan’s Las Vegas, a bust of Lenin, who is still present in Karaganda, a sad, full-blown pool in front of a lake in Borovoye, a monument of a horse formation, which points out the nomadic culture of the Kazakhs, in front of a magnificent stone building with a pillared entrance. Thematically the photographs are divided in five categories, which are Nomad’s Land, Close-Up, After the Fall, New Ara and Urban Nomads. Together they form “Kazakhstan – A Cultural Topography”.
“In people’s faces this transformation manifests in very different ways: in the way of sadness, indifference, powerlessness, boldness, but also pride and joy.”
The photographer manages to capture the significant moments of a transition in the very moment, when the old and the new merge. In people’s faces this transformation manifests in very different ways: in the way of sadness, indifference, powerlessness, boldness, but also pride and joy. In public space architecture and landscape cannot be more contradictory: glass facades, prefabricated buildings, magnificent buildings, bare landscapes, swank – all that under the umbrella of Nomadic Culture.