Frozen Moments: Architecture Speaks Back. Research & Leisure
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2010 Frozen Moments: Architecture Speaks Back. Research & Leisure
Art, architecture, talks, concerts, field trips, and more

The Caucasus speaks with frozen moments. With the fall of the Com­munist regime, trains stop­ped mid-​route, the cable car over one of the canyons of Tbilisi was aban­doned hal­fway, and the housing estates of the never realized future in Mush found tem­porary set­tlers. The heritage of Soviet architec­ture in the region has revealed its anticipatory poten­tial of mul­tiple secon­dary uses, creative economies, and the sustainable and self-​organizing policies paral­lelly present in the cul­tural discourse nowadays. The Former Ministry of High­ways of the Soviet Republic of Georgia, erected in 1975 by architects George Chakhava (1923–2007) and Zurab Jalaghania is one of the most stun­ning buil­dings in the world. An exam­ple of a realized utopia (a utopie réalisable), it has been productive of an augmented reality, blen­ding the image of the future under Com­munism with organic, palimpsestic architecture and the con­cepts of a continuous, non-master-planned environment. This three-​day residency of Caucasian and inter­national artists, architects, curators, academics, and of the Tbilisi public will offer rich and fascinating ses­sions of research and leisure around the mul­tiple variations of this heterotopic place. The program includes talks, work­shops, art and architec­ture, con­certs, field trips, and roof par­ties. The point of departure refers to the poetics of frozen images, with its inherent poten­tial of past and future meanings — whether the legacy of moder­nism, a moving and wal­king city, plug-​in con­cepts, ‘back-to-the-future’ policies, and much more. For three days in July this fan­tastic buil­ding will become a diagram for various horizon­tal con­tributions, where one spon­taneous act may radically change the project.  This will also be the only public opening of the buil­ding before its renovation as the future headquar­ters of the Bank of Geo­r­gia. Come join us in Tbilisi!  

 

 

 

 

22 July, Thursday

 

 

11.00 Frozen Cable Car: A Welcome Image

 

11.30-13.30 Con­flict Sites & Lived Trans­itions: Social Con­sequen­ces In the New Reality A Field Trip by Levan Asabashvili / Urban Reactor

 

Urban Reac­tor is convin­ced that architec­ture and plan­ning cannot be prac­ticed in the autonomous regime. They perceive built space as a product and at the same time as a determining framework of com­plex tech­nological, social, economic and political relations being in the state of per­manent change and mutual influence. They are not inspired by the abs­tract and remote con­cep­tions, formal com­plexities or engineering potentials. They are public activists with a critical stance towards their profes­sion and the socio-​spatial reality we happen to live in. They see the value of their work - con­cepts cul­tivated, tech­niques applied or decisions made - by the extent to which it addres­ses problems in the wider per­spec­tive of a socio-cultural dimension.

Public opening:

 

17.00-18.00 “A Walk of Quadrants in Tundra 145 (char­ting the nature vs man, inten­tional vs wild)” / Richard Reynolds

Foun­der of Guer​ril​laGar​dening.org

 

Through his website Guer​ril​laGar​dening.org and book On Guer­rilla Gar­dening Richard Reynolds has met and gar­dened along­side guer­rilla gar­deners from around the world and has become something of a spokesperson for a diverse and loosely gathered movement that chal­len­ges the way we use public space today. The con­cept for his research is based on categorizing and framing the layers of hor­ticul­tural history at a location through observation and interview; using these as inspiration for some tem­porary micro gar­dens, experiments in what might be and recreations of what has passed.

 

Richard offers will offer a walk on the roots of Par­thenocis­sus tricuspidata, in the water­fall, in the thugs retreat, where Hedera helix col­lap­ses under its own weight and falls from the buil­ding, through the arran­gement of bricks, turf, wood and fen­cing on the 14th floor, to the pioneering weeds, that break through the bitumen roof, the new creeper, the high rise swamps, the tree top and more.

 

 

18.30-19.00 Autocen­ter Speaks BackA cinematic per­for­mance by Ei Arakawa & Mari Mukai & Gela Patashuri & Sergei Tcherepnin

 

19.30-20.15 We Live Your Future Public – A Talk with the Architect Zurab Jalaghania, Kora Chakhava, George Chakhava (son), moderated by Vahram Aghasyan (in Rus­sian with trans­lation into English)

 

20.20 – 22.00 Retro-​Futuro: Indonesian tales music set by Cumbogroup

And a Roof Cocktail

 

Cum­bogroup is a collective of artists and musicians located in Tbilisi, which relates to the notion of ‘Cumbo’, which in Geo­r­gian slang means helper or servant (with good inten­tions). Cumbo is not a single work or project, but a general position towards the cul­ture and life.

 

 

23 July, Friday

 

 

10.00-12.00 Waste, An Organism – A field trip by Daniel Bir­ken­mayer to the Tbilisi Cen­tral Dump with an excur­sus on waste as an organism and its metabolism

 

Tbilisi produces every year approximately 400.000 tons of waste. It’s a mixture of household and business wastes and other industrial trashes. Neither is there any con­trol of the amounts and con­tents being dumped nor are there any tech­nical features for the protec­tion of the environ­ment. All toxins direc­tly affect soil, groun­dwater, sur­face water, air and food-​chain. A waste dump as such goes through dif­ferent life cycles. In general we can say that by dif­ferent metabolic, proces­ses all organic con­tents are being con­sumed and in the end only minerals and metals will be left. This process is of degradation needs cer­tain con­ditions and produces dif­ferent out­puts. The theoretical excurse on site will focus on the vision of waste-​dumps as organisms and on under­stan­ding their metabolisms with the dif­ferent proces­ses and outputs.

 

 

12.00-13.00 A visit at the Kamikadze loggia and a short lec­ture on the inherent logic of exten­sions in the Caucasus and a presentation of the New Map of Tbilisi

by Gio Sum­badze / Urban Research Lab / New Map of Tbilisi

 

Urban Research Laboratory is a platform serving the visual arts by enlar­ging their exhibiting con­texts, fin­ding locations for various mul­timedia and non-​media interven­tions, integrating art with the architec­tural land­scape, acoustic con­texts or urban con­ditions. URL serves also as an archive because of fast growing destruc­tive proces­ses of the architec­tural heritage from the end of the last cen­tury such as the soviet infrastruc­ture. URL is also buil­ding a database for Tbilisi social housing of the “mikro-raions” (microdistricts), by col­lec­ting the tech­nical data about the architect’s con­cepts, the con­struc­tion proces­ses, or the par­ticular locations.

 

16.00-20.30 After­noon Talks Program: Outopias?!

Held in English

 

16.00-16.30 Jan Ver­woert The three tasks of moder­nity: meet its ghosts, break the chain and hear the things talk. Some thoughts on the art of bearing wit­ness, the politics of inter­rup­ting tradition and the craft of trans­lating between sense and non­sense as prac­tical chal­len­ges set by an unfinished modernity.

16.40-17.10 Nana Kipiani “Give Me Future Today” (Vladimir Mayakovsky)

 

In an attempt to find the roots of Chakhava’s buil­ding from 1970’s we will go in several direc­tions star­ting from an overview of the Middle Age organic city tradition using the exam­ple of Tbilisi, to the Soviet organic and “paper architecture” of 1920-1930’s, to Tbilisi avant-​garde in visual arts and poetry of the same period. In addition, we will also examine briefly the politics and urban ideas of 1960-1970’s.

17.30-18.15 Outopias: The City of the Third Mil­len­nium. A Skype conver­sation between Yona Fried­man and Eric Troussicot

The true Utopias are those, which are realizable. To believe in a Utopia and to be, at the same time, realistic, is not a contradiction. Yona Friedman

The visions inspired deployed since the Fifties by Yona Fried­man have more recen­tly been met by reality, and at the same time, to some extent, rehabilitated his work. Let us question then the future, the con­cept of the city of the third mil­len­nium, via an inter­posed screen inside a building, set up in 1975, which con­stitutes a fragment of Ville Spatial car­ried out.

 

18.15 – Sum up discussion

 

 

18.40 – 19.10 Art from Architec­ture and Architec­ture from Art - Didier Fiúza Faustino’s and Mathieu Her­belin (Bureau des Mésarchitectures)

 

“Didier Fiúza Faustino’s work (…) indistinc­tly is using genres in a way that sum­marizes an ethical and political attitude about the con­ditions for con­struc­ting a place in the socio-​cultural fabric of the city. Spaces, buil­dings and objects show them­selves to be plat­forms for the inter­sec­tion of the individual body and the col­lec­tive body in their use. Each project represents a concept that sub­verts the social con­text, in which seeing is experimen­ting beyond sub­mis­sion to the dichotomy of the rules that nor­mally mark out public space and private space. The body is recen­tred on the basis of the social implications of the space, aler­ting people to the dan­gers of sub­jec­ting it to an ambiguity of represen­tation that may con­tribute towards their for­get­ting its iden­tity. (…)”

João Fer­nan­des (Direc­tor of the Ser­ralves Con­tem­porary Art Museum, Lisbon, Portugal)

 

19.10 - Questions

 

19.20 – 19.50 Georg Schöllhammer Africa? Trans­national Projects and Col­lec­tive Curatorial Practice

While the ancient art and colonial histories of West Asia and the South Mediter­ranean coun­tries of the Middle East and North Africa are familiar enough to an interested public in Europe, know­ledge of Moder­nism and Neo-Avant-Garde in this region is still very limited. This applies especially to the period of the 1960’s: Con­cep­tualism in the Caucasus, the impact of The Trien­nial of India on West Asia, urban avant-​gardes in the Middle East and in Iran, the Neo Avant-​Garde visual cul­tures of the Magh­reb – all these are stories still to be locally resear­ched and trans- locally told. They are not yet canonized, nor even locally known. One con­cern is to present this period in its marked originality, inc­luding in many points con­gruen­ces and dif­feren­ces with Western concepts.

 19.50- Questions

 

20.00 – 20.30 Reflec­tions on a Post-Everything Con­text by Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri

 

Post-Modern, Post-Apartheid, Post-Soviet, Post-​Communist, Post-Socialist, Post-Colonial, Post-​Feminist, Post-Identity, Post-Capitalist, Post-​Democratic, Post-​Crash, Post-​Post. The two artists will attempt to touch on their own research over the last 10 years while con­nec­ting to the first day of talks. They will also attempt to outline a few questions, which they con­sider impor­tant both in the con­text of our col­lec­tive research as well as any effort to develop a practice in a post-everything context.

 

20.30 – Sum up Discussion

 

 

21.00 Fuc­king Good Art 13th Floor, 2 Tower


An infor­mal dialogue about elevators, architec­ture, art, exorcism, fame and
glory, power and decay, and about an ant that meets a sugar cube and
decides to dedicate its life to it.

 

*From "The Ant, Respect and Fame", by Anton Kool­haas (Rem Koolhaas’
father, who was a well known Dutch fables writer).

 

21.30 Live set by: Acciden­tal Lover Boyz

 

Any cyber­netic System with a program of “Free will” inside of it – is a STRATEGY. Sokomuzika is a system. Acciden­tal Lover Boyz is a free will. The Sound is a STRATEGY. Any buil­ding is an organism. Organism that uses free will as a battery for its own existence is an ARCHITEC­TURE. Join our bat­tery Sound inside the dying organism on the 23d day of this month.

ELY (Acciden­tial Lover BoyZ) is a smART GROUPware, located in the "concrete jungles" of the Second World, a living organism, new con­cept of the smArt Group which will survive in the cold Offline Network discon­nec­tions like a Virus. 

 

22.00 Dinner: together or individually (sug­gestions will be provided)

 

24 July, Saturday

 

 

10.00-12.30 Vahram Aghasyan Remains of the Future: the Poten­tial Secon­dary Uses, a work­shop and a presentation (with a break)

The work­shop will be held on the bases of the improvised archive of the buil­ding of the former Ministry of Automobile Roads of Geo­r­gia part of which will be exhibited in the buil­ding. The archive was col­lec­ted with Nini Palavan­dishvili, Lali Per­tenava, Ana Bejanashvili, Gogiko Sakvarelidze with the generous  sup­port of Chakhava family and Zurab Jalaghania. This is the first attempt to initiate an archive of the buil­ding after the great fire that took place in the studio of George Chakhava in 2008 destroying projects, models, blueprints, photographs and other related materials. The work­shop con­sists of presen­tations, discus­sions and will sum up with a proposal for a hypothetical alter­native usage of the building.

13.00 – 14.00 Roman­cing the Peaks of Polyglots / Slavs and Tatars (Part 1)

A visit to the tombs of two star-​crossed lovers–Alek­san­der Griboyedov and Nino Chavchavadze–at the top of Mtat­sminda Pan­theon. A famous 19th cen­tury playw­right and diplomat, Griboyedov was the author of Горе от ума (Gore ot uma), a play of man­ners whose robust title travels business-​class from the original Rus­sian to the scrap­pier shores of the English economy in Woe from Wit. Using the salutary tale of Griboyedov's and Chavchavadze's romance, the walk will touch upon Georgia's com­plex rap­port with its nor­thern and southern neigh­bors, respec­tively Russia and Iran.

14.30-15.30 Lunch

After­noon talks program: Ruins of our times / Case studies

16.00-16.30 Payam Sharifi / Slavs and Tatars KID­NAP­PING MOUNTAINS (Part 2)

Kid­nap­ping Moun­tains is a playful and infor­mative exploration of the muscular stories, wills, and defeat inhabiting the Caucasus region. Addres­sing the com­plexity of lan­guages and iden­tities on the fault line of Eurasia, Kid­nap­ping Moun­tains is a performative investigation of real­politik, cul­tural affinities, and imagined pasts and futures found in Geography’s case study of com­plexity other­wise known as the Caucasus. The talk is inspired by the research for the eponymous book, published by Book Works, and the exhibit at Netwerk Center of Con­tem­porary Art in Aalst, Belgium.

16.30 - Questions

16.40-17.10 Alena Boika Progres­sive Nostal­gia: between glamour and lace curtains

 

On the ruins of any empire, something new is always sprin­ging up; it is inevitable. The USSR was the power­ful empire, and its col­lapse brought forth an appearance of the dif­ferent forms of a chaos, organized with a different level of order and the absurd. Belarus is a unique coun­try, where the ruins of an empire gave birth to attempts to create a new one, but in the frames of one, not so big, but extremely closed coun­try. The Empire, where ideology and history are created from the timid remains of the former and, the decisive asseverations of new prin­cipals and slogans. The words sound proud and stately, but visuality is fal­ling apart, notable to endure the dishar­mony of fake constructions.

 

17.10 - Questions

17.20 – 17.50 Ruben Arevshatyan Open-​Air Hall of Cinema Moscow in Yerevan

Paral­lel to the inten­sive sociopolitical, economic and cul­tural develop­ments that were taking place in post-​soviet Armenia within these last 15 years Yerevan and some other cities of the republic have been experien­cing drastic trans­for­mations of urban spaces. Con­struc­tion of new buil­dings, gen­trification of big districts has been developing with ten­den­tious annihilation of public zones in the city and cor­rup­tion as well as com­plete destruc­tion of late Soviet moder­nistic architec­ture. Cinema Moscow is one of such buil­dings that has recen­tly generated around itself an active public discourse and a social movement which has turned into a battleground of world-​views between various social groups, the govern­ment and the church. What are the reasons and historical premises of such a confrontation? Why is Soviet moder­nistic architec­ture being con­sidered as a “potential threat” for evolving neo-​liberal economic, political and cul­tural sys­tems in post-​ideological Armenia? What could be the tac­tics and strategies for regaining public spaces?

17.50 - Questions 

10 min break

 

18.10-18.40 Wil­liam Hol­lister The Czech National Museum Headquar­ters: a brief history of the adop­ted use of a dated structure.

 

The Czechoslovak Federal Par­liament was built around the former Czechoslovak Stocke Exchange in the 1960s. When Czechoslovakia ceased to exist, Radio Free Europe took it over. After 9- 11, it became per­ceived as a terrorist target; RFE moved out. It has now become the headquar­ters of the Czech National Museum. This very brief history of the chan­ging uses of a single buil­ding will be offered for com­parison to the Tbilisi story. When govern­ments col­lapse, what sort of institutions can fill the space?

 

18.40 – Questions

 

18.50-19.20 Nestan Tatarashvili - Lecture-​Performance On Preservation of Architec­ture from Soviet Georgia

 

Our history is writ­ten by architec­ture, which is per­manent action and we do not have to be like deaf wit­nes­ses in this process. The memory of my generation con­tains 20-20 years both of the Soviet and the indepen­dent era. We are part of these chan­ges: the political system as well as our environ­ment – nature, architec­ture, urbanism etc. Can we be an active part of the sub­ver­sive preservation? At times when developers claim creative destruc­tion, how shall we think preservation as a civic practice?

 

19.20 - Questions

 

19.30-20.00 Niko Japaridze Dream West - Imagine Soviet /  Imagine West - Dream Soviet

 

 

Architec­tural land­marks are under threat across the post-​Soviet space, from 18th-century houses to Con­struc­tivist creations to grand Stalinist buil­dings, as well as great works of the 1970s. The cityscapes of the post-​Soviet space are taking on a 'Disneyland Quality' mostly due to the prac­tice of replacing historical buil­dings with modern struc­tures built in con­crete and dis­guised by a mock facade in a quasi-historical style. There is an urgent need to look at the historical causes of this situation and to explore new impul­ses that can divert this unfor­tunate direc­tion in architec­tural ideas. It took a long time for the local com­munity to recognize the impor­tance of The Ministry of Roads buil­ding, not only as a Georgian land­mark but as a crucially impor­tant edifice in the con­text of a worldwide history of architecture.

 

20.00 – 20.20 Questions and Discussion

 

 

20.45 A Stein in the Wall - A Night­time of Reading of Ger­trude Stein’s poetry and prose by Melinda Braathen and Jan Verwoert

21.30 Flying Ministry – An Action by Agnieszka Kurant

 

22.00 Dinner

 

25 July, Sunday

 

A trip to Caucasus Moun­tains inc­luding Diorama on the cross pass of the Caucasus Moun­tains fol­lowed by a picnic at Gela Patashuri’s coun­try house

 

Day includes:

 

Daniel Bir­ken­mayer: Floating In Space / a 45 minute meditation session

Our notion of reality is a constructed frag­ment. What we see, feel, think and so on is basically a product of the fil­tered per­cep­tions of our six sen­soric fields and an over­lay of rational judg­ments of like and dislike. We are con­ditioned by our educational and cul­tural imprints and we have dif­ficul­ties in accep­ting new views.  We believe that all we see is all what is. Only seldom we see without these pat­terns of con­trol. And even less often we manage to recognize such moments where the nature of reality flourishes and we gain insight. The unusual, unexpec­ted situation of this buil­ding bears a great poten­tial, to serve us with a crucial experience, to give us a taste and to familiarise us with the awareness of such moments of uncon­ditioned per­cep­tion of the nature of reality.

 

 

16.00 Vladimir Vol­novik: What is to be Undone? (a con­cept for a final discussion)

The artist Vladimir Vol­novik was asked to propose something for the series of events entitled And And And, which com­pose a part of the upcoming dOCUMENTA (13).  He has proposed a final discus­sion involving all of the par­ticipants of this event and con­tributed the fol­lowing question: If architec­ture has been at the center of the most utopic and dys­topic of projects in the 20th and early 21st cen­tury - what are artists, architects, thin­kers, and activists doing today to undo, rethink, or reevaluate the gestures, unexamined poten­tialities, or dire con­sequen­ces of these projects?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Artists, academics, architects, curators, economists, and residents of Tbilisi in a context-responsive summer art project in the time between the former Ministry of Highways of the Soviet Republic of Georgia and the future headquarters of Bank of Georgia: 

 

Vahram Aghasyan, Ayreen Anastas, Ei Arakawa/Mari Mukai/Gela Patashuri/Sergei Tcherepnin, Ruben Arevshatyan, Bettina Atala, Daniel Baumann, Alena Boika, Rene Gabri, Bouillon Group, Daniel Birkenmayer, George Chakhava, Josef Dabernig, Kote Jincharadze, Didier Fiuza Faustino & Mathieu Herbelin / Mésarchitecture, Yona Friedman, William Hollister, Zurab Jalaghania, Nana Kipiani, Eva Khachatryan, Agnieszka Kurant, Vicki Lee & Next Dreamhacker / Accidental Lover BoyZ, Nikolozi, Nini Palavandishvili, Lali Pertenava, Richard Reynolds, Georg Schöllhammer, Slavs and Tatars, Sophia Tabatadze, Nienke Terpsma & Rob Hamelijnck / Fucking Good Art, Wato Tsereteli, Urban Research Lab: Gio Sumbadze, Ani Chorgolashivili & Rezo Glonti, Greg Lindquist, Tamuna Karumidze, Neli Zedgenidze & Koka Ramishvili; Urban Reactor, Jan Verwoert & Melinda Braathen, Vladimir Volnovik, Aleksandra Wasilkowska, Martin Zet

 

A project by Joanna Warsza

Link to the program!

http://ruinsofourtimes.wordpress.com/