Visiting Assistant Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, Shanara Nauruzbayeva and her husband Daniel Gallegos present the collaborative, dialogical, and site-based art project by the Artpologist Collection in Taraz. The project explores questions of belonging and identity by inviting local Taraz residents to reminisce childhood memories of their city in order to create a narrative for this ethnically diverse pan of Kazakhstan. The project resulted in an interaction and exhibition with many family photos from Taraz residents, painting and photographs from the collaborations, namely Mr.
Gallegos, and Videography of interviews with local residents along with their recollections of childhood memories. This presentation was my very first exposure to artpology and encouraged me to question the anthropological methods 1 had been made aware of prior to the lecture, all of which] will present at the end of this reflection.
I especially enjoyed seeing the integration of research subjects into this project in more activities than just interviews as an incredibly important method of research.
The methodology of Professor Nauruzbayeva, Mr. Gallegos, and their collaborators largely took the form of reciprocation. A good example of this was the exchange of Churros, a Latin American desert/sweet, for the memories of numerous generations of local residents. It was questioned at the end of the lecture about ethical dilemmas regarding the exchange of sweets for memories, as it could be seen as a way of bribery and/or a way of having these residents relive unwanted memories. However it was seen through video recordings that this possibly dilemma ultimately didn’t exist as the resists enjoyed talking about their childhood memories, bring smiles and laughter to their faces.
The many ways in which these voices of Taraz were captured and presented helped to establish an identity for the vastly diverse city of Taraz. Additionally, it helped the citizens to find a more genuine feeling of identity, as they were challenged and able to recall memories from their years of intimate connection and creative thought, their childhood.
This was a truly amazing and eye-opening presentation, as I had never before heard of, let alone seen the progression of an actual project, the combination of art and anthropology. All of the anthropology I had studied prior to this lecture had been translated and presented through literature or recordings. Although some is more narrative than other formal formats, artpology was a completely new concept to me and encouraged me to brainstorm and question the discipline of anthropology in general. What other forms can ethnographical and anthropological research take? Is there an endless amount of ways in which anthropology can be documents and used, some of which that have never been attempted? This was an exciting moment in my anthropology career as I saw a future of endless opportunities and inspiration.