...Shortly before his death in 2002, Kazakh artist Sergey Maslov began writing a novel called Astral Nomads (which is where I got the name of this project), which was dedicated to the life of the most contemporary artists in Central Asia.

Since Sergey had no heirs, except for his friends and colleagues, they became the custodians of his paintings, drawings, notebooks, albums, self-published magazines, which were stored in their apartments and workshops. This method of preservation, however, is not relevant to the significance of Maslov's legacy, and all these materials require cataloging, organizing, and digitizing to reflect the specifics of the artist's practice and the full extent and depth of his influence on the development of the Central Asian art scene, which he helped to establish.

Yuri Dvinyaninov (nicknamed the Dwarf), from the North Kazakhstan city of Karaganda, was killed under strange circumstances during a trip to St. Petersburg in 2007. Despite his youth — Dvinyaninov was 32 years old, he managed to do a lot. He sang and wrote songs, did performances, experimented with flash animation, and published poems. The central part of his creative heritage, however, seems to be a mass of notebooks and notebooks filled with constant reflections of the artist and his poetic reflection, combining visual images and poetic text into something like a kind of pictographic poetry. He was clearly inspired by Avant-garde artists such as Malevich, Mayakovsky and others.

Vyacheslav Akhunov, the patriarch of contemporary art in Uzbekistan, started creating his own diaries and handwritten books in the late 1970s. It was an era of deep crisis — the" Stagnation " of the Soviet Union when the official ideology outlived itself. Despite this, artists from all fifteen Union Republics were not allowed to work independently of official institutions. This situation shaped the character of Akhunov's work, when he recorded his crunch-worthy conceptual projects in notebooks, which he collected in the kitchen in the form of a collection of recipes, in case of a sudden visit from the KGB. Due to the current political situation in Uzbekistan, Akhunov's fate has changed little since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, he is perceived in his own country as a dissident whose work cannot be shown in Uzbekistan. Let his works be available to people online — this is a practical task for which the digital archive is the most suitable tool.

In general, the practice of artists who are represented in the Astral Nomads project is an opportunity to send greetings to their colleagues from other parts of the world. But this greeting is sometimes so difficult and takes so long to make its way through time and space. The projects that our artists made were very often dedicated to the work of other artists whom they had never met in person, but whose work inspired and nourished them. These projects, however, provided an opportunity to rethink and revive the most significant ideas of the 20th century, and perhaps our resource will become the tool that will help develop this global artistic dialogue further. Digital space can become the space where these and other "star nomads" from Maslov's novel can find common ground with thinking people all over the world.

To be continued...

Yuliya Sorokina