Meet Intizor, who lives somewhere in Central Asia and speaks only Russian and English learned from Dostoyevsky and Beyoncé

On the road trip to her indigenous Khorezmi-Uyghur roots Intizor is planning to finally find peace by killing the national concept of which she is fucking tired of
Documentary road movie about the concept of ethnic identity, searching for roots, and a little bit about Beyoncé
Intizor Otaniyozova
My name is Intizor, and that’s the only thing that’s left because I don’t belong anywhere.

My dad is from Khorezmi people that officially don’t exist anymore, dissolved in Uzbeks because of USSR; my mom is an Uyghur that was forced to flee her homeland at young age with guilt that only got bigger because of genocide in China.

So, when I was born in Uzbekistan in 1995, it looked like identity anxiety wouldn’t pass on me but then as I was a kid we moved to Kazakhstan. Official document problems, divorce threats made it clear — home would be a kind of mirage for me.

On purpose I didn’t learn native languages or traditions, but instead had close ties to Russian and English cultures. Even the title of this movie is lyrics from an album by Beyoncé because after listening about her pain I started to actually think of mine.
Colonizing myself by Beyoncé is one of the best choices I’ve made so far.

In my opinion, after you colonize yourself you achieve actual freedom. Sounds similar to a joke still being actually serious about ethnicity and countries seems strange to me.

For a long time I tried to convince myself that it was fine for me to be from nowhere, that the past would not follow me.

It turns out that the past is a shadow, it never leaves you.

That’s why I decided to hit the road and while questioning the origins and nationalities of the people I meet on my way, I will head to the homes of my parents: China to Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan up to Turkmenistan borders.
My main intention it’s to talk about stateless people.

Ongoing genocide is just an extreme result of "world logic" that is also allowing 3000 ethnicities versus 200 countries.

Slavery was legal once. Same should apply to countries in my selfish opinion. I was called an anarchist for this position yet it was born not only from my brain rather my whole body.

I’m afraid of nationalism, of dividing, of flags, of borders, of cold big monuments, of history made with blood, of the question "What's your ethnicity?" after people hear my name.
I can sense how the elephant in the room transforms into a monster, collective trauma thanks to the silence.

I will interact with people by asking them to guess my ethnicity. Reactions to this impossible to answer the right question will be mixed with my on-site artistic gestures.

Movie will be focusing on stateless minorities by creating comfortable conditions for them because while reflecting on my background they can make short comments or dive deeper into their own story thus making them more visible.
Intizor’s bio
Colonizing myself by Beyoncé is one of the best choices I’ve made so far.
Multidisciplinary artist based in Central Asia.

Themes of her research are identity, ecology, feminism, and Beyoncé. Participated in exhibitions in different countries of Asia and Europe. Also was published in feminist literature volumes.

Intizor’s art background includes short experimental documentaries, working with archives, participation in residencies.

"Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Side Chicks" is her debut feature-length documentary film, which she has been working on since 2021.
Intizor Otaniyozova
I've always loved Christmas songs, and it seems so unfair that they are only listened to for a short time of the year, and then kind of abandoned and ignored. I play them all year round and love them so much that I decided to try to write an Uyghur Christmas song.
project’s teaser
Mariah Carey—All I Want For Christmas Is You
Ariana Grande—Santa Tell Me
Destiny's Child—8 Days of Christmas
Paul McCartney—Wonderful Christmastime
Judy garland—Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

travel video
I often shoot on camera because it notices a lot of what I miss in the moment, and as if it manages to save the moment from death. But I have to admit that the camera also kills reality.

I want to talk about my parents, about my point of view, but in most interviews this seemed inappropriate. And here my words end — I still don’t understand how to call this emptiness.

The interviews themselves were filmed in populated areas of the Almaty region, Kazakhstan and in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I am so grateful to every person who took the time to share their thoughts with me on camera. It's a pity we didn't have more time to film. My short notes are an attempt to continue the conversation.
travel photos
Deciding that a moment is interesting enough, that it’s worthy of stopping and to be saved for forever is a pretty exciting experience. I hope you will also enjoy solving this puzzle.
I was probably 10 years old the last time I lay on this stove. We watched a cartoon
It turns out that cinema is not only about escapism. I'm not sure if I would have done it if I knew about it earlier
If I were a spider, I would weave a web from my blood
Look at 19 more photos:
travel texts
To make a movie it also takes a village. In my travel notes, I again focused on myself and my feelings, because it’s more honest, and, I want to think, more correct.

But these trips would not have happened without the love, nerves and help of a huge number of people. I don’t understand how they still tolerate me

We had just left the city and the car broke down.

I didn’t know how long it would take, so I asked the cameraman to start filming how the car was being repaired. It turned out to be a beautiful first shot.

The front seat of a car is the most unsafe: only glass separates you from other cars.

But the worst thing in the steppe at night is the horses. There are many of them, they are big and strong, and the only source of light is the headlights.

There are three pink flamingos near the city hall in Chundzha. It's probably a fountain in the summer.

For some reason, that day they were so out of my picture of the world that I even specifically asked that they not be included in the frame.

The place we stayed at was one of the cheapest we could find and quite multifunctional as well. We ate breakfast in the banquet hall.

While we were finishing our tea, preparations for some event began. I wanted to stay and film, but we only had one day.

The whole trip to the border with China I wanted not to go there. It was so scary and painful.

If I didn't need it for the movie, I would never ever have gone there.

Finally, at a conscious age, I saw the monument near which I was photographed when I was about 4 years old.

So many things from the photographs came to life that day.

For the first time, someone in my path did not sign a consent form for the use of materials in filming, because I was touching on too sensitive topics.

I wasn’t able to explain that I can’t talk seriously about serious topics.

Incredibly cold day.

I seem to be dressed warmly, but my nose is always red and I'm shaking.

Probably, it was after this day that the driver decided that his salary needed to be increased.

I sent my friend a photo of the ceramic pomegranates I saw at the market today. She thought they were real.

Also today is the anniversary of Beyoncé's fifth album.

Today, in the entrance of the last house where my family and I lived in Tashkent, we found stickers with Spider-Man.

If I still lived there, I would be the one who put them on.

We have been waiting for the train at the station for 15 or 17 hours due to bad weather.

Finally there is time to film, but we are not allowed to. The New Year is coming soon.

I said goodbye to childhood and, perhaps, to Tashkent.
2 trip Tashkent
1 trip Karaturyk – Chundzha – Nazugum’s Cave – Zharkent – Khorgos
Take part
in the survey
The reason I’m initiating this survey and documentary project "Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Side Chicks" is firstly deeply personal because my parents belong to stateless people.

I was struggling to understand what home means to me, even thought there’s something wrong with me, and it took me years to figure out who I am, why I am where I am now, what actually can define me.
I see you only once a year, that's strange
If that's what works for you, Santa buva
How've you been doing? I was awfully good
To be honest have no idea why, whatever

Don't need any presents this Christmas
I have enough, no, not even pretty candles
Won't ask for some ice and snowflakes show
Santa buva, climate crisis ain't your fault

Waiting for miracles is my style from the past, from when I was little
Yet since it's socially acceptable to ask you for things (for things)
In other words to keep the Christmas spirit (spirit)
Oh, there's only one wish I want to tell

Santa buva, can I have at least a tiny piece of land?
Everyone seem to have one, it's not such a big deal, fa-la-la-la
Kind of tricky though: I have a place to call mine but also not
Something is wrong with me or perhaps with the world, fa-la-la-la
Romantic relationships are overrated
On clothes blood of modern slaves
Tired of job promotions and capitalism overall
Nothing that will make my eyes shine except

Santa buva, hech bolmiganda kichikinne Vetyan bolamdu?
Hemme ademde Vetyan bar, bu uncha chon masile emyasku, fa-la-la-la
Men Vetyan dep ataydigan yer bar, birak men uni Vetyan dep atalmaymyan.
Yaki mende bolmisa duniyada chushenmeslik barmu? Fa-la-la-la
Hazir yana inglis tilida takrilayman

Santa buva, can I have at least a tiny piece of land?
Everyone seem to have one, it's not such a big deal, fa-la-la-la
Kind of tricky though: I have a place to call mine but also not
Something is wrong with me or perhaps with the world, fa-la-la-la

Take part in the survey
The reason I’m initiating this survey and documentary project “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Side Chicks” is firstly deeply personal because my parents belong to stateless people.

I was struggling to understand what home means to me, even thought there’s something wrong with me, and it took me years to figure out who I am, why I am where I am now, what actually can define me. Sense of belonging is one of the fundamental ones I guess. While I was growing up it was frustrating to find myself to be an exception over and over, to realize there is no box for me.

However there are so many people out there who are going through the same process. It's just big narratives based on power that don't represent our voices at all.

I believe that there are a lot of blind spots when we are talking about identity in a modern world. Sometimes it seems like our understanding of ourselves changed while the way institutions and systems are functioning did not.

This survey is both an attempt to deepen my research and possibility to share stories in a safe place. Ideally I want to publish shared stories on this website that we can collectively reflect on complex, mixed identities. Please feel free to answer only questions you want to or answer them partially therefore the survey can be anonymous if you want.

Thank you so much for your participation!