Index 19: An Alternative Guide to Tbilisi

21 February 2018, 19:00–22:00

Foto: Sophia Tabatadze

The Alternative Guide to Tbilisi is an art book project by GeoAIR about Georgia’s enigmatically attractive capital. The book will be presented by Sophia Tabatadze, founder of GeoAIR and participant of CuratorLab 2017-18 at Konstfack.

Being the capital of a country with many changes in previous decades, Tbilisi has faced intensive urban transformations that are still ongoing. Citizen participation in the makeover of the city has been rather passive. However, Tbilisi has kept or attained many interesting and hidden sites, which are important for the contemporary everyday, but usually invisible behind nationalistic narratives. While the official slogan of the city is “Tbilisi, the city that loves you”, this guide’s approach is closer to “Tbilisi, it’s complicated”.

Moving beyond tourists attractions, the guide engages the user actively with unknown parts and narratives of the city through a diverse collection of texts and images. The material originates from a selection of projects that GeoAIR undertook all over the city through its activities and an artists-in-residence program. Selected research and projects will be translated into segments of the book, in addition to new contributions by local artists, activists and researchers. Each segment functions as a separate piece, but also constitutes to a larger kaleidoscopic perspective on a city trying to find its identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recurring topics highlight the challenges the city is facing, such as privatization of public space, “recent” migration to Georgia, the remains of the Soviet-time architecture and the denial of its existence in official narratives of the city.

GeoAIR is a group of people united by the same idea, who aim to develop socially-engaged art practices and increase its influence on the existing reality in Georgia. Over a decade, GeoAIR has worked site-specifically in public spaces of Tbilisi and initiated many pioneering urban projects. This accumulated research, knowledge and expertise is currently transformed into The Alternative Guide to Tbilisi.

Index 19 is a series in Index’ front space. Presenting single works, films, readings and discursive events, Index 19 is a space for dialogue with surrounding communities and visitors.

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