Almagul Menlibayeva

Almagul Menlibayeva (1969, Almaty) is a video artist and a photographer. Her work addresses critical issues of post-Soviet social, economic, and political transformations in Central Asia, de-colonial re-imaginings of gender, environmental degradation (as in the Aral Sea and Soviet Nuclear Test Field in Kazakhstan), and Eurasian nomadic and indigenous cosmologies and mythologies. In conjunction with her solo exhibition Transformation at the Grand Palais in Paris (France, 2016–2017), the French Minister of Culture made her a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2017.

AI Realism
Digital prints and video animation, 2022

This project was born online on social media, when peaceful January 2022 demonstrations in Kazakhstan turned into tragic events. People found themselves without access to the Internet for several days, lacking communication. CSTO troops predominantly made up of the Russian army received official permission to enter. The only official news channel described its own version of the ongoing tragedy. These images were based on the first words of victims and eyewitnesses. Transformers Artificial Intelligence algorithms used their important words, in text form, to build the image. Menlibayeva reconstructs human memory through synthetic memory, imagination, and the morality of algorithms trained on Google data. With this project, which took shape in collaboration with AI, she set herself the task of fiuguring out – how can people give power to individual voices when authoritarian and political groups discredit actual news sources and scientific facts, fabricating false stories and evidence of the existence of the same? How can we protect ourselves against a war of information and fake news propaganda?
Supported by the Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture.