undergo. the parallels in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 24th-June 3rd 2012
41 artists from 12 countries shared their artistic expressions with the public in selected underground passages in Tbilisi.
They were dealing with the specificity of the site, the given architecture, its meanings and the relationship it creates with its subjects/users, expanding the way we understand, use, define and defend public spaces.
The SPACES caravan in Tbilisi took place in pedestrian underground passages throughout the city.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these underground passages have experienced different stages of existence: first they were completely abandoned and became dangerous places of muggings and robbery. As a result, citizens entered them less and less, rather choosing to cross streets loaded with traffic, which led to a significant death toll. Later, these undergrounds became places where alternative, unofficial selling points arose. The more efficient sellers developed kiosks, shops, gambling places etc. Some of these underground passageways developed their own life, parallel to “normal” city life in the open air. These passages are today spaces of meeting and communication, where young people gather in gambling houses, musicians and students meet to play and listen to music, and where shop keepers are in close contact with the passengers and potential customers.
Today the underground passages in Tbilisi are still under development. In some of them new “organized” commercial infrastructures are built, some of them are under the danger of collision, also there appeared some passages which regardless of their necessity, has lost their practical function, and became place for garbage, or turned into public toilets.
SPACES produced site-specific works (light installations, sound installations, photography, street art etc.) especially for the passageways touching on many socio-political issues. The Tbilisi and Georgian audience is not used to art in public space/participatory art. “undergo. the parallels” confronted the general public with unconventional ways of perceptions of art and engagement with it. Some artworks as street art, light installations, produced during the project, still remain on-site and act as a long-term attraction in both practical and aesthetical ways for the passageways.
Special thanks to:
The Silk Road Group,
Tbilisi Central Archive and
Central Archive of Audiovisual Documents, The National Archives of Georgia
Between Yesterday and tomorrow - A project by Irina Kurtishvili and Andreas M. Kaufmann inside Undergo.The Parallels in Tbilisi, Georgia.