Arnau Rovira Vidal • A Ghost City
Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia, formerly a part of the Soviet Union, independent since 1991. Turkmenistan is bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and has access to the Caspian Sea. It is an Islamic country and its main income comes from natural gas. Ashgabat is a very closed city. It doesn’t grant many visas and there are just a few flights during the week. There are several restrictions for Internet content, phone calls and television. This strict control makes it a country with limited freedom and a restrained access to the outside world.
Turkmenistan has only had two presidents since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The second one, who has now been ruling for over 10 years, is named Gurbangulí Berdimujamédov, and won a controversial election in 2006 after a suspicious death of the former president Saparmyrat Nyyazow. Berdimujamédov, is a Guinness Book of Records fanatic and has dedicated a large amount of money and time to build monuments in white marble in the capital. Ashgabat held the Asian Indoor Games last September, during which Turkmenistan unexpectedly won more medals than countries like China, Japan or Australia.
Arnau Rovira Vidal was born in Barcelona in 1984. He studied DOP and moved to Madrid in 2015, where he began to study photography in EFTI and LENS. His first project Re-form had been exhibited at several festivals for example like Revela’t and Mirades and was a finalist for the scholarship at the LENS school. There he began his second project, FLAIX, now ongoing.