HMKV proudly presents: Next stop Moscow (14-21 July 2016) and Vladivostok (22-28 July 2016)

Welcome to HMKV's blog.

This blog currently documents a research trip to twelve former Soviet Republics for a new regional project of the Goethe-Institut (2015-17). Earlier entries document the "Afro-Tech and the Future of (Re-)Invention" research trip to Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria (10-25 April 2014, Anne Bergner and Inke Arns), and the INDUSTRIAL on Tour trip to five industrial cities in Poland (27 Sep - 9 Oct 2011, Thibaut de Ruyter, Inke Arns et al.)

Researching a new regional project for the Goethe Institute (2015-2017) / Recherche für ein neues Regionalprojekt des Goethe-Instituts (2015–2017)

EN Thibaut de Ruyter and Inke Arns have embarked on a new adventure: Researching a new regional project for the Goethe-Institut (2015-2017)! The first trip brought us to Russia and Belarus -- Moscow (Aug 17-23, 2015), St. Petersburg (Aug 23-28, 2015), Yekatarinburg (Aug 28 - Sep 1, 2015), Novosibirsk (Sep 1-4, 2015), and Minsk/Belarus (Sep 4-6, 2015). The second trip brought us to Central Asia -- to Almaty/Kazakhstan (Nov 24-29, 2015), Bishkek/Kirgistan (Nov 29-Dec 3, 2015), Tashkent/Uzbekistan (Dec 3-9, 2015) and Dushanbe/Tadjikistan (Dec 9-13, 2015). The third trip brought us to the Ukraine (Kyiv, 25-31 Jan 2016). The fourth trip saw us in the Caucasus (Baku/Azerbaijan, Tblissi/Georgia, Yerevan/Armenia, 3-19 May 2016). And, finally, our fifth trip will bring us back to Russia (Moscow, 14-21 July 2016, and Vladivostok, 22-28 July). Expect to read more on this blog!

DE Thibaut de Ruyter und Inke Arns sind zu einem neuen Abenteuer aufgebrochen: die Recherche für ein neues Regionalprojekt des Goethe-Instituts (2015–2017)! Die erste Reise führte uns nach Russland und Belarus -- Moskau (17.-23. Aug. 2015), St. Petersburg (23.-28. Aug. 2015), Jekaterinburg (28. Aug. – 1. Sept. 2015), Nowosibirsk (1.-4. Sept. 2015) und Minsk/Belarus (4.-6. Sept. 2015). Die zweite Reise ging nach Zentralasien -- nach Almaty/Kasachstan (24.-29. Nov. 2015), Bischkek/Kirgisien (29. Nov. - 3. Dez. 2015), Taschkent/Usbekistan (3.-9. Dez. 2015) und Duschanbe/Tadschikistan (9.-13. Dez. 2015). Die dritte Reise führte uns in die Ukraine (Kiew, 25.-31. Januar 2016). Die vierte Reise ging in den Kaukasus (Baku/Aserbaidschan, Tblissi/Georgien, Jerewan/Armenien, 3.-19. Mai 2016). Die fünfte und letzte (Recherche-)Reise führt uns nochmals nach Russland (Moskau, 14.-21. Juli 2016, und Vladivostok, 22.-28. Juli 2016). Mehr dann auf diesem Blog!

Yerevan, Armenia: Mies van der Rohe's subway entrance

It reminds me of something ...
... what was it ...
... somehow this looks strangely familiar ...
... even the roof construction ...
... it's the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (1968)!


Tbilisi, Georgia: Dinner at the Black Lion

Amazing food at the Black Lion restaurant in Tbilisi. Inke is speaking about the Nigerian connection. Now everybody at the table wants to apply for the NSK State in Time citizenship. Watch out for mass applications from Georgia! Photo by Nutsa Chikvaidze.

Tbilisi, Georgia: Museum of Word

When in Tbilisi, don't miss this show! Here's an article in English. It's at the Giorgi Leonidze State Museum of Georgian Literature, and it's on view until 16 May 2016!

Tbilisi, Georgia: Food porn II

Food porn, Tbilisi, Georgia: Khinkali - delicious traditional meat dumplings. Check for more information.

Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgian - Klingon

The Georgian script does not resemble any other known script or language - except Klingon.

Tbilisi, Georgia: Pleased to meet you (იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი)

Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name ...
Plaster copy of the death mask of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (birth surname: Jughashvili; 18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953), as seen in Hüseyn Haqverdi's studio in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Stalin's birth name in Georgian was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili (იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი). He was born an ethnic Georgian; Georgia was then part of the Russian Empire. The Russian-language version of his birth name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Ио́сиф Виссарио́нович Джугашви́ли). 

Baku, Azerbaijan: The mud volcanoes of Gobustan

Pleased to meet you: I am a mud volcano. As seen in Gobustan, Azerbaijan
See more on the muddy buddies here:
Some volcanoes are burning because of the methane that's being released.
No, we did not take a bath. The mud volcanoes are cold.

Baku, Azerbaijan: Food porn I

 Mutton balls
A not-so-happy Baku goat on a wheelbarrow being driven to the butcher
A cow's head, intestines and feet hanging in the streets of Baku
 Walnuts (entire, black) and baclava
Sweets and tools

Baku: State emblem of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (1920-1991)

EN Cotton, oil, wheat and Socialism.

DE Baumwolle, Öl, Weizen und Sozialismus.

Soviet squares: how public space is disappearing in post-communist cities

EN "Privatisation is stripping cities in Russia and Eastern Europe of their public assets, leaving a chaotic mix of advertising, dilapidation and new development ..." An interesting article by Owen Hatherley, published in The Guardian on 21 April 2016 --

Caucasus: Looking for yet another border between Asia and Europe

EN What the English Wikipedia says about the Caucasus.
DE Was die deutsche Wikipedia über den Kaukasus weiß.

Kyiv: Ya Gallery

EN Olena Blank's amazing exhibition at Ya Gallery, Kyiv. Pumpkins in porcelain.
EN Pavel Gudimov, gallery director, giving us a tour of Olena Blank's exhibition.

Next stop: Kyiv

EN We are getting ready for our next trip. Tomorrow we will be flying from Berlin to Kyiv, arriving in the Ukrainian capital on Monday 25 January 2016 early afternoon. Poyechali!

Thanks to everybody / Dank an alle

Staircase in Tashkent / Treppenaufgang in Taschkent
EN Thanks to all those we met during our research trip in Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent and Dushanbe -- thanks for your time, and it was great talking to you! We only returned to Berlin today, and still have to get over our jet lag ;-)

DE Dank an alle, die wir auf unserer Recherchereise in Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent und Dushanbe getroffen haben -- Danke für Eure Zeit; es war sehr spannend! Wir sind erst heute nachmittag nach Berlin zurückgekehrt und müssen noch über unserer Jetlag hinwegkommen ...

Dushanbe: Farewell / Auf Wiedersehen

EN Goodbye Dushanbe - we are celebrating at the Tajik Bar in Dushanbe.

DE Auf Wiedersehen Duschanbe - wir feiern in der Tajik Bar in Duschanbe.

Dushanbe: Bundesbar

EN Here's the proof. It's really called Bundesbar, and they serve Eisbein from mutton.

DE Hier ist der Beweis: Der Laden heißt wirklich Bundesbar, und es gibt Eisbein vom Schaf.

EN Alex explaining me the difference between "stakan" and "bokal". Nice drawing!

DE Alex erklärt mir den Unterscheid zwischen "stakan" und "bokal". Schöne Zeichnung!

Dushanbe: Carpets / Teppiche

EN Which one to take? Our colleague Aleksey Ulko at ZUM (Central Universal Department Store) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

DE Welchen bloß nehmen? Unser Kollege Aleksey Ulko im ZUM (Zentrales Universal Kaufhaus) in Duschanbe, Tadschikistan.

EN OK, here's the one I chose for my new office. Watch out, dear colleagues at HMKV!

DE OK, diesen habe ich für meine neues Büro gekauft, liebe KollegInnen im HMKV!

Dushanbe: First snow / Erster Schnee

EN Welcome to Dushanbe, Tajikistan!

DE Willkommen in Duschanbe, Tadschikistan!

Khudzhand: Airport / Flughafen

EN Khudzhand Airport, Tajikistan.

DE Flughafen von Chudzhand, Tadschikistan.

Tashkent: Earthquake in Tajikistan could be felt in Tashkent

EN Today at noon there was an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude in Murghob, Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan. We were just having a meeting in the hotel bar at Shodlik Hotel in Tashkent when I suddenly had the feeling as if I was sitting on a boat that was gently swinging from one side to the other. I thought, oh well, probably I had one vodka too much last night. Then the lamps above the bar started swinging quite intensively. I just sat there is amazement while my colleague turned white.

Tashkent: If you want to read certain books in Uzbekistan ... / Wenn man bestimmte Bücher in Usbekistan lesen will ...

EN ... better wrap them in some inconspicuous paper. This particular one was written by the former British Embassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. Its title is Murder in Samarkand. A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror and it was published by Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh and London, in 2006. A must-read by a very brave man. He was removed from his ambassadorial post in October 2004.
Check out and

DE ... dann sollte man sie in unverfängliches Papier einschlagen. Dieses Prachtexemplar wurde von Craig Murray, dem ehemaligen britischen Botschafter in Usbekistan, geschrieben. Der Titel lautet Murder in Samarkand. A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror. Es wurde 2006 von Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh and London, veröffentlicht. Ein wichtiges Buch von seinem sehr mutigen Mann. Er wurde im Oktober 2004 von seinem Botschafter-Posten abgezogen. Mehr unter und

Tashkent: State Museum of the History of Uzbekistan / Staatliches Museum der Geschichte Usbekistans

EN ... the former Lenin Museum, now dedicated to the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov (in office since 1990).

DE ... das ehemalige Lenin-Museum, heute dem Präsidenten Usbekistans Islom Karimov gewidmet (seit 1990 im Amt).

Tashkent: Interesting lunch place / Interessanter Mittagstisch

Published on 29.07.2012
Hi, My name is Mahsa Ghasemi and I want to show you how to cook Uzbek Samsa.
What we need: Onion: 1 Kg. Lamb meat (with fat): 1/2 Kg. Paste (Dough): 1 Kg. Cumin (Caraway) powder: 1 spoon salt and other spices (such as black pepper): as you wish
How to: 1- Slice the onions, 2- Chop the meet in very small pieces, 3- Mix the meat, sliced onions and spices well, (Wait for 1/2 hour to get ready), 4- Spread the ready paste (Dough), 5- Cut the spread paste with a round frame in 6 - 7 inches, 6- Put some meat in the center of the paste and close it with your hands, 7- Put all the samsas in the grill tray and put them in the grill for 25 minutes of 250 C' temperature (when ready the color of the samsas should get dark brown) ***Bon Appetite***

Bishkek: STAB

EN A very important initiative in Bishkek. From STAB's agenda: STAB "address(es) a series of large-scale themes of particular social and political relevance in the contemporary Central Asian context. These themes include patriarchy; inequality and emancipation; post-colonialism; language policy; and debates about the controversial Soviet legacy and experience."

DE Eine sehr wichtige Intiative in Bischkek. Aus der Agenda von STAB: STAB "address(es) a series of large-scale themes of particular social and political relevance in the contemporary Central Asian context. These themes include patriarchy; inequality and emancipation; post-colonialism; language policy; and debates about the controversial Soviet legacy and experience."

Bishkek: Marat Raimkulov, artist / Künstler

EN From Marat Raimkulov's sketchbook "Moby Dick in Nice," in the exhibition "Karash 2 / Novy Nonkonformizm" at Zech Loft, Bishkek

DE Aus Marat Raimkulovs Skizzenbuch "Moby Dick in Nizza", in der Ausstellung "Karasch 2 / Novyj Nonkonformizm" im Zech Loft, Bischkek
EN Marat Raimkulov talking about "Moby Dick in Nice"

DE Marat Raimkulov spricht über "Moby Dick in Nizza"
EN More sketches by Marat Raimkulov

DE Mehr Skizzen von Marat Raimkulov

Bishkek: Exhibition space Zech Loft / Ausstellungsort Zech Loft

EN Zech Loft (on the left) is a former (cosmetics?) factory in Bishkek that is now used for exhibitions of contemporary art.

DE Zech Loft (links) ist eine ehemalige (Kosmetik?-)Fabrik in Bischkek, die heute für Ausstellungen mit zeitgenössischer Kunst genutzt wird.