ROAD BUILDING IN KYRGYZSTAN: FIVE LEVELS OF THE UNDERWORLD.
Kyrgyzstan takes out large loans to finance road building. This strategy produces short-term results but, in the long run, the loans are pushing the country into a financial hole.
Author: Ivan Yanushkevich
Illustrator: Dmitry Ligay
Designed by Bremenconsultants
Expert Support provided by Nash Vek
During six weeks I’ve been working at the Prague Art Residency on a social project for Kyrgyzstan. The project name is “The hole”. Together with “Nash Vek”organization and in cooperation with KLOOP editorial office, we made an interactive, illustrated, journalistic investigation onfinancial credits for road construction in Kyrgyzstan.
In the beginning, the work was conducted only with “Nash Vek” organization and, telling the truth, at first I had no idea how to approach this project. The organization told us only about the problem of road construction andtheir poor quality. Members of our group, participating in the residency, admitted this project as the most difficult, particularly, in terms of visualization. Through the work with the organization, deeper problems that would appear in the economy of Kyrgyzstan were revealed. Since the problem of poor road quality was just the tip of the icebergwe completely revised our approach and decided to work on a more global task. The visualization still remained a problem for me;for a long while I could not find a graphic language for this project. It was decided to take two things as the basis: a road hole and the concept of “circles of hell” at each level of which we considered the various challenges faced by the country. First, we wanted to create a separate web page, but it turned out that the Prague Center had good relations with the KLOOP editorial office. And since they agreed to cooperate with us it was decided to promote the project through their website. As a result, it turned out to be something like an illustrated journalistic investigation, based on open data and comments of official and competent persons. For all participants this project turned out to be complicated: journalists were processing data and I was working on a graphical language. While doing this I got a better understanding on how to work. Besides, since the work was carried out together with the web developer,it was important to find the optimal operation mode of mobile version of the project. It was essential because in the course of the work it was found out that almost 80% of KLOOP site visits are performed from mobile devices.
I’ve never worked on similar projects ever before. I had experience in commercial interactive projects, working with producers and web developers, but they didn’t reflect any political or social issues. This is why this experience was very valuable for me. The original name of the project "Roads to Hell" was changed to “A hole”. Frankly speaking, I didn’t like the name "Road to Hell" because it sounded too loud. I wanted something laconic, simple, but having a deep meaning. Besides, the concept itself did not suit the name “Road to Hell”. It reflected only the composition, but not the concept. In our project we have only 5 levels (instead of 9 circles) and it doesn’t include any kinds of evil spirits. I wanted to avoid misinterpretations. This is rather a hole in which the country submerges with its problems. It puts the emphasis on the concept of the road hole from which it all began.
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