FOBOS: Weather in Kyzyl/Tuva
Kyzyl Weather

The Centre Of Asia

During the nineties journalist Ben Lange travelled for several months through the South-Siberian republic of Tuva, together with photographer Jean-Pierre Jans. From the footage he filmed there he composed two short viideos. They are shown during the exhibitions Under the Spell of the Shaman in the Etnografisch Museum and Music for the eyes in the Hessenhuis, both in Antwerp, Belgium.

Tuva, Centre of Asia is an overall impression of life in the republic of Tuva. Images of nomad life with reindeer and camels, and the traditional slaughtering of a sheep pass by, supported by the remarkable tones of throat singing. The setting is an astonishing wide range of landscapes; from suffocating taiga and vast steppes up to inaccessible chains of mountains. (Time: 7 minutes 15)

The winter ceremony by Ay Churek (Moon Heart) is an impression of a ceremony as they are held by Tuvan shamans today. Ay Churek travels from village to village with her assistant. A family in the central Tuvan village Ak Tal invited her to call upon the gods and invoke a safe and sound winter. After a sheep has been slaughtered the best pieces of meat are sacrificed. Moon Heart contacts the gods by chanting and drumming. The ceremony, which went on for several hours, took place in November 1995. (Time: 7 minutes 30)

Tuva is a magical, remote and inaccessible country. The majority of the Tuvans are still cattle-breeding nomads. Four times every year they relocate their small white felt tents (yurts or g in Tuvan) in search for fresh pastures.

This autonomous republic within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), is snuggled against the northern Mongolian border. Until 1991 foreigners had no access to this country. The Chinese, controlling Tuva from the 17th until the 19th century, called the Tuvans "The people from the far forest". The geographical centre of Asia lies in the Tuvan capital, Kyzyl. Nowhere on earth one can be further away from the sea. After the fall of the communist regime, responsible since the early forties for a large scale oppression of the original culture and religion, a spiritual renaissance sweeps the country.

Direction, camera, off-line editing: Ben Lange; On-line editing: Theo van t Hert; Production: Flip Nagler; Consultancy: Maurits Nibbering; Cover design: Fabienne van Haelst; Lay-out: Baumann Production.

Thanks to: Jan van Alphen; Staf Deams; Fabienne van Haelst; Vica Irgit; Zoya Kyrgys; Rada Chakar; Sasha Tyrtyi; Kostia Klynov.

The Tuva Ensemble: Nadjezhda Kuular; Aldyn-Ool Sevek; Boris Mongush; Vladimir Mongush.

Exhibition Etnografisch Museum, Hessenhuis, Antwerp November 1997.

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