TRASH-4 Eco-Festival: Follow the Trash River

#Shaarkana #eco-tour #lectures #shows #workshops #exhibition #swap-party #eco-practices  #Library of saved books and much more

Dates: October 7-9, 2022 

Bishkek School of Contemporary Art, together with Tazar Mekenim & MoveGreen, invite friends and guests to participate in the eco-art festival “TRASH-4: Follow the Trash River”, that will take place in Bishkek on October 7-9. During those three days we will engage in #shaarkana urban discussions about waste management and explore a photo exhibition dedicated to water pollution. We will take a ride along the banks of Ala-Archa river from Ala-Archa National Park across the whole city of Bishkek and all the way to Ala-Archa water reservoir, located next to the city’s landfill, where American artists will guide us through the process of making paper out of waste material. We will experiment with food products and finish the day with the screening of a documentary about people who work at the landfill. 

This year’s Trash festival is dedicated to the problem of pollution caused by the landfill. Not only soil and air are polluted, but also water. Through the stories of invisible people who live around the landfill site and the water reservoir, we want to demonstrate the effects of irresponsible consumption and lack of a waste management system. The festival explores the case of the Ala-Archa water reservoir pollution. Melt-water from the glaciers flows from Ala-Archa gorge through the city of Bishkek and stops at a 22-meter-tall dump site. Then the polluted water is used for irrigation of agricultural lands around the Chui valley. The produce from those fields makes its way to the market shelves and onto our tables.

Art-Trash Festival consists of several events in different locations:

  • Oct.5 | 16:00-18:00 Media-tour to the Museum of Green Technologies at the “Fluid” Public Foundation (April 7 str. 1A/9) with lectures and discussions on the topics of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Register here: (number of seats is limited)
  • Oct.7 | 18:00-20:00 Shaarkana “Sort and Manage” will take place at the Frunze Memorial Museum (Frunze str. 364). The same location features a photo exhibition by Vladislav Ushakov on the topic of river and water body pollution. Register here:
  • Oct.8 | 09:00-20:00 – Eco-tour “TRASH-4: Follow the Trash River (all seats booked). The tour results will be featured in a video and published in zine-catalogue “Aralash”.
  • Oct.9 | 13:00-20:00 – Eco-workshops by American artists Alex Christensen, Rudy Medina and Melissa Porter, followed by a screening of “The Hill”, a film that was featured at the Cannes Film Festival, directed by Denis Gheerbrant and Lina Tsrimova. The location is the “Library of saved books” in Altyn-Kazyk settlement (str. Altyn-Kazyk 7, 29), next to the city’s landfill site. Free entrance. Accessible by public transportation ( 

On the first day of the festival (Oct. 7 | 18:00-20:00) we would like to invite everyone for another round of SHAARKANA urban talks, themed “Sort and manage” and dedicated to waste management; and to a photo-exhibition by Vladislav Ushakov, on the topic of pollution of rivers and bodies of water.  Independent experts, scientists, government representatives and community members from the residential neighborhoods around the landfill will come together to discuss the main problem in waste management – what to do with trash, and explore perspectives of waste sorting at the level of municipal policy. Tazar app representatives Aimeerim Tursalieva and Munara Moldobaeva will present the results of their research on waste management. Co-founders of the #MayorPutItOut initiative Vladislav Ushakov and Bermet Borubaeva will discuss the problems of the landfill and ways of resolving them.  

On day two, Oct. 8 (all seats booked, results will be posted online), we will go on a ride from Ala-Archa gorge across Bishkek to the city landfill to witness the morphology of river pollution. The tour group includes experts in the field of water resources management, representatives of government and water management systems, who will form a joint group to work on the case. The glaciers of the Ala-Archa gorge are receding, the amount of water coming in is decreasing, and even that gets polluted as it makes its way through the city. After the trip video documents and results will be published in zine-catalogue “Aralash”.

On day three, Oct 9, we invite everyone to residential settlement Altyn-Kazyk near the landfill. The “Library of saved books” is a space for local community development that was created during the Third Trash-Festival in 2021. Children attend classes in the library and we plan to establish a creative workshop there that would process and transform the textile waste from the sewing industry (Free entrance). Artists from Chicago and Milwaukee will present their workshops exclusively for the festival. Authors of the “Open Kitchen” project Alex Christensen and Rudy Medina will experiment with food, mixing their own products with local produce, and combine traditional food preservation techniques with modern ones.  Melissa Potter will incorporate the waste from all the food experiments into her workshop, where she will demonstrate the process of paper-making. At the end of the day, we will all get together to watch the widely-discussed film by Denis Gheerbrant and Lina Tsrimova “The Hill”. The film uses stories of people who work at the Bishkek city landfill to demonstrate the realities of our times, and there will be a discussion afterwards on how we can improve those.

Organizers: Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (Bermet Borubaeva) & Tazar Mekenim (Aimeerim Tursalieva & Munara Moldobaeva) & MoveGreen (Tolgonai Elemanova & Munara Borombaeva & Nurzhan Chunueva), together with Meerim Seidakmatova.

Partners: Open Kitchen (USA), Feminist Seed Bank, “Eco Mir” public foundation, KuramaStory, «ArtEast» community-based organization, Institute for Youth Development” Public Foundation, Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago).

With financial support from the government of Switzerland and Democracy Commission of the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic. 

Residence of American artists is funded by CEC ArtsLink International Fellowship Program 

Detailed information available on website and through telephone: +996500527484, 


Media materials 


Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BiSCA) is an informal self-organized and socially-oriented platform. We are interested in the interchange of ideas, emotions, and energy in relation to art as a practice and are involved in the school on a voluntary basis.




Tazar mekenim is a platform and a mobile app for sorting and recycling in Kyrgyzstan. We train citizens on the proper sorting and submitting of their waste materials for recycling. We also provide training for offices and encourage them to be responsible for their ecological footprint.
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MoveGreen is an ecology organization that works to improve air quality, based on data analysis, involving civil society in decision-making