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Sozsiz / Speechless

Video performance

2017 / 2022

The three-channel video features a 21-minute-long performative action of stitching and unstitching the phrase Soz (Kazakh: Word) in Kazakh in three alphabets: Arabic, Latin and Cyrillic. It is a reference to the change of alphabet performed by the Soviet government in 1929 - 1940 in Kazakhstan as part of the politics of cultural assimilation in the region. As soon as the phrase is done, I begin to undo it. In the end, only the plain fabric remains, with the traces of manipulation barely visible to the eye.

The performance was initially filmed in 2017 as an 8-minute-long action of stitching and unstitching the phrase "soz joq" (Kazakh: Speechless). It was refilmed as a three-channel video for the exhibition Clouds, Power and Ornament at MillCHAT, Centre for Heritage, Art and Textile, Hong Kong, 2023.

Read further: Asel Kadyrkhanova's essay Stitch, Unstitch written for collective volume Suture: Reimagining Ornament. Republished at RUYO Journal.

Speechless / Sozsiz, video still, 2022

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