Baku, Azerbaijan’s wind-swept capital city on the Caspian Sea, has seen tremendous changes to its urban landscape and social composition over the last two decades. Since the end of the Soviet Union, the government of Azerbaijan have initiated a number of urban projects and branding campaigns to transform the image of Baku from a Post-Soviet peripheral city to that of a modern business and tourism hub, often at the expense of the city’s more historic neighborhoods and buildings.
As Baku’s government-led urban development continues, citizens have launched a number of initiatives to record the daily life and social transformation of their capital. Ahmad Muxtar’s Red Frame is one such project that not only documents Baku’s architectural change, but also explores the ways our perceptions of urban space are framed by social, political, and economic forces. Over the next few months, Ajam will collaborating with community organizers in Baku like Muxtar to help document the city’s transformation. Ajam’s upcoming multi-media project, Mehelle (or neighborhood), will provide a platform to preserve the histories, stories, and images of unique neighborhoods across Ajamistan.