Consistently conceiving the city as a research object, we came to artistic practices, political philosophy and the description of the city using sociological language. The scale of the described topics underwent changes, at one point localizing into small group practices, at another – expanding in attempts to be a theory.

During these searches, we worked with the art practices of situationists and the concept of "the right to the city" by Henri Lefebvre. This strengthened our engagement with the critique of capital and the institute of private property that constituted it, and the a priori asymmetric distribution of benefits. The further search for ways of studying and producing meanings in the study of the city led us to the sociology of the city and social theory. This seems to have allowed us to expand the space of reasoning about the city, and at the moment appears to be an adequate way to talk about it. This also put us in a situation of realizing that the ideas about the unequivocal injustice of the social order applied to the city turned out to be not comprehensive, but only a part of sociological optics.

Such a paradigm shift made amendments to the analysis of the city and its processes. It has already been reflected in the artistic research program "In search of the city." In it, the objects under investigation become ambivalent and can tell us different things, reflecting dialecticity­ and own contextuality.

In this issue, we also refer to urban objects. This time to its monuments and memorials. They interest us because they serve as symbolic objects, documenting the dominant idea of the discourse or vice versa losing this dominant idea over time in view of the changing political and socio-economic context. Thus, we turn our attention to the processes and narratives in which these objects appeared, transformed and continue to exist.

The appeal to the monuments is also related to the topic that Laboratoria CI is researching throughout 2018 – memory and identity. It is difficult to imagine the gap between human memory and cultural self-identification, which is linked to both social ties and space, laden with symbols, architecture and the complexity of urban organization.

It is quite possible that the texts may seem diverse, which they are to a certain extent. In some, the emphasis is placed on the history of change of a space, in others we focus on ideological charge, but all texts are united by tracing transformations and trying to comprehend the symbolic significance or insignificance of the selected monuments for different population groups today.
Magazine " Monuments of Bishkek"
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