1/2 is a project of artistic exchange between four french artists/graphic designers who live in four european capitals.
1/2 is Laure Boer, Anne-Pauline Mabire, Lucie Pindat and Chloé Thomas.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #8 — Katharina Stadler



Who are you?
My name is Kat, or Katharina. I work as an artist, sometimes as a curator and I curate the educational programs here at the Center of Contemporary Art Tbilisi.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
Actually, I always wanted to work in theater, and that’s how I started off, in theater production. And then it went from one medium to another, from theater to film etc. I do that because I think that’s the only thing I know how to do. It just comes to me. I usually say that the only thing I always have are the ideas and I think this is the right way to follow that, despite all the obstacles. About the education part, the idea behind is that I had a lot of great people in my life who taught me and I just want to pass it on. Those people over the last 20 years were really important for me. And I am not convinced that I am that important to my students, but I like the idea of sharing the knowledge and practices, so that’s how I ended up in education. 

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
Ambition, I don't know. But dream is to be always able to continue working on exactly what I want to work on at the moment and to work together with the people who I really like and trust. And not get into that whole art education, art world business, because there is too much ego and elbows out there. Ambition, I don't know really. Maybe get more professional in the work I am doing. That’s one of those ambitions that will never stop. That is not an ambition or a goal that you can reach at some point. I don't want more responsibilities. I want to be a teenager again, please no more responsibilities… (laughing)  

Could you tell us a childhood memory? 
To be honest, I do not have that many childhood memories, but I think what I remember the most is being in the mountains. I was sick as a child for 8 years and did not have energy in my daily life and as soon as we went to the mountains, I could breathe and I really loved the mountains. Connected to that, I collected everything I found and made sculptures out of that. My family was kind of disgusted by that, because I collected bones and trash and everything and I wanted to have that stuff in the house. But this mix of being in the nature and just doing this working for myself, I would not call it working as a child, but gathering everything and producing stuff.

What do you do when you don't do anything?
I never don't do anything. I am one of those workaholics. I chose the life I live very consciously. I love what I am doing, but I have a tendency to totally overwork myself and then I end up just crashing and sleeping… but just doing nothing, even when I sleep I dream a lot so I am not sure if that is relaxing.  

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
My apartment. I love it because it’s an own world and has nothing to do with Tbilisi or anything else. It’s just mine, “Katland”. I have my studio there. I don't have all my books, but at least some… And my kitchen. I can just pretend to be, not necessarily somewhere else, but in my space. It’s a beautiful old apartment, it is inspiring, it has a good atmosphere. I also like people coming over, it’s not that I am hiding there and fencing myself off Tbilisi, even though I do that once in a while. It’s just an island, separate land in the middle of the world.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Yes, but not Tbilisi, Georgia. In my educational work, I always liked cooperation. Here it is even more necessary to get people and students to talk to each other, accepting different opinions, working with each other or helping each other. So in that sense I think the whole surrounding influenced my educational work a lot. Also the whole idea of being western... I think a lot about those issues about neocolonialism, this whole idea of bringing democracy and whatever kind of lifestyle to a country like this. It influences me. I think I would be even more arrogant if I was doing the same in Berlin, more sure of myself and my decisions. Here, I always try to find the middle way, which causes other problems. In my artistic work, I was always a feminist. The society, by imposing these weird ideas about gender roles and no sex before marriage, and homophobia and, and, and… made me become so radical in my feminism, in my political views. I became very antireligious. And that all ended up in my work. More the issues about gender roles, not the religious ones, but in a way they are also connected. 

Is it something you can share with other people here?
With a few people. There are few great people here, but really few. I miss radical discussions, I miss this kind of rage that you want to change something and even if it's just in this small context. Rage sounds so negative, but I think it's a good notion for working. In that sense, this May 17th thing was quite good, as I realized there are more people with anger inside them, not just me. I think we do not express it enough here. There is a very small group who has this rage and there is a very big group which is against this small group.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
It’s the philosopher Merab Mamardashvili. He totally inspires me. He was very like a public figure during Soviet times, well-known for giving public lectures which were attended by a weird variety of people. He was an icon. Even though he talked about consciousness in his philosophical lectures, he managed to address a wider audience. I am very inspired by him but I'm stuck in language, as all those lectures are in Russian and I only get the context. I read most of the translations I could find. Now I‘m reading the Georgian translation of his talks, because I am preparing a project which will hopefully be finished next summer in Tbilisi. The idea is to make a project which is connected to a Georgian philosopher but does not only work here, that’s the aim I have. He has some kind of revival, but he is a bit forgotten and he is not really known outside of former Soviet Union. So I want to have those two things, have his voice again here in Tbilisi and also introduce his voice to the West.  

What inspires you?
At the moment, love. At the moment it works for me as an inspiration.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #7 — Tamta Tamara Shavgulidze



Who are you?
My name is Tamta Tamara Shavgulidze, I am an art historian and I am specialized in Georgian Contemporary Art. I am giving lectures in the Academy of Fine Arts in Tbilisi, Georgia. My main interest is how to read contemporary art, the cultural context and forms, to explain the language of contemporary art to the students. 

What makes you or made you do what you do?
When I was around 10 years old, I wanted to be an archaeologist, so it started from the very beginning. I loved the adventure that art and archaeology offer. That’s when I decided to get involved with art. Well, I was 14 years old when I decided to study in the college, it was a humanitarian college. I studied everything there, philosophy, contemporary dance, film. After finishing this college, three years later I had many choices what I could do with my life and I decided that art and visual art was something that attracted me. 

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
My dream or ambition? They are a bit different. I don’t think that I have an ambition actually. I just think that I have reached the point at this moment of my life, the point that I have always been moving towards. Now I’m just getting pleasure from this style of life I have, because I love to be an observer. I love to look at art pieces or art processes, to analyze them, to be involved partly, to be in contact with the people who are making art and culture. Somehow this is a great moment for me to be in the middle of creating something. I think this was my dream and it came true. I think ambition is always changing, it depends on the stage of your life. I have always wanted to be a professional and this is the main thing I wanted to do all my life and just to improve myself all the time. This is what I’m trying to do all the time. 

Could you tell us a childhood memory? 
I have a lot of memories from my childhood and sometimes I even think that maybe I have not finished something in my childhood and I’m still strongly connected to it. There are many adult emotions that are bringing some pictures and images from my childhood. What I remember mostly is the Soviet period of my childhood. I don't like to remember the period which came after Soviet times. It was not horrible — the Western culture came and the Western cartoons — but I loved the colors and images and everything that was connected to the Soviet childhood culture, the Soviet cartoons. This is quite strong in me at the moment. What is coming is always the Soviet period of my life, strange but still. 

What do you do when you don't do anything?
This is my favorite moment in life when I’m doing nothing. Mostly when I’m doing nothing I try to have coffee in the room where I’m sitting. I love to dream, I love to think about everything and nothing, about nothing serious. I have my most favorite armchair in my room, the red carpet and this is the ideal situation for me. It makes me relax. So when I’m doing nothing, I am sitting in the armchair drinking coffee. 

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
The place is on Freedom Square, when you are going down from the square to the Baratashvili Bridge. This is the moment when there is a small corner, and you are going and suddenly, the huge space is opening. This is the place from which you best can see the sky. When I come back from my vacations, I try to go first to this place, have a walk and rediscover the sky of Tbilisi. For others it might be the most ordinary space, but somehow I found something that is very personally mine.

The suburbs are typical Soviet places. They were built during the 60s when Khrushchev decided the re-urbanization process in Georgia. Many people who were coming from the villages needed places to live. This is the moment when Tbilisi culture changed again, because the new blood from the villages rushed and it was all mixed again with the village life. It is the main fight in Tbilisi for Tbilisi, to survive the urban culture. It is getting more and more difficult because the people from the villages are coming and coming. There are one million original citizens and another million who have moved from the villages. There is a real fight on everyday level between the city and the village. That is quite obvious and is discomforting on the level of the communication. It’s not like in Europe when you know each suburb has a type of people to expect. Here all social layers are living together, so it’s a bit of a met farm.

I am never sad about the changes and I am never sad about losing something, it’s more natural to lose something and gain something new. If you are not losing something you are not getting anything new. Georgians are always very sad about losing something and they are always afraid of getting something new. We are somehow stuck in the middle of the past and future and it is not present time.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
You know it’s quite difficult and when I am thinking about the Georgian educational system it is complicated. You are growing up in the situation where there are a lot of heroes who must inspire you and you don’t have a choice. There was a moment when I decided I did not want to be inspired by historical people. I was protesting against this situation. After thinking a lot, I understood that my father is the person that inspires me. He researches contemporary Georgian literature. And actually because of many moments in his life and his character, he inspires me. This is the most honest answer.

What inspires you?
The feeling of success, this is something very incredible. When you feel your success, you always want to recreate this feeling, because success is not with you for ever. You have to fight for it again and again. This feeling is something that inspires me and drives me foreword. The feeling when you discover and understand the things in the world, the clearness when you understand  that now you know something. It comes from working and education, you somehow always try to overcome and understand something new in your life. This broadens your horizons and it is nice. Success and this feeling come together for me. 

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
My work is not so strongly connected with Tbilisi. It is much more connected with larger Georgian culture. I do not focus on Tbilisi, because Tbilisi is like a vampire-whole Georgian culture, everyone is so focused on Tbilisi that we are forgetting about the other parts of our own country. I try not to be focused on it. I prefer to have links with the whole country. 

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Edit 1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #6 — Otar Karalashvili



Who are you?

I am Otar. I am teaching book design - or book art - at the Arts Academy in Tbilisi. It’s really just by accident that I do this. I studied mathematics, but I gave it up in the 90s and founded a publishing house with some friends. We started very small, and, since I was the only one with some skill in visual arts, I started to learn computer layout, and was in charge of designing all of our books, learning more and more about it as time went by. Later I started an advertising studio, doing graphic design, copywriting, shooting video commercials, all sorts of things. However, advertising was very much monopolized in Georgia by that time so we basically went bankrupt and after I became a freelance designer. At some moment I felt like I was degrading in the quality of my work. So I came to the Art Academy and asked to be admitted to the course to learn graphic design and they said no, you are too old, but if you want to, you can teach. I said OK and I started teaching, just by accident.


What makes you or made you do what you do?

Partly, I just react on what happens around me. Basically, I see students in need of space or some way to develop their thinking, and I am thinking all the time how to help them with it. This is one of my motivations, to keep the door open all the time. I think it is very important to encourage people to have confidence in themselves. One thing I really hate is fear and I hate people making others afraid and trying to intimidate them, and this happens all the time. All the time people are discouraged to try out any kind of unusual ideas. I think it is also sort of a political issue, trying to keep people timid. It is like this in Georgia, like in many countries…


What is your dream? Or your ambition?
The ambition is to remain young. It’s very hard when you have accomplished something, not to become a slave of what you have accomplished. I met many, many people, really nice and I liked them a lot, but somehow they got enslaved by their own accomplishments. Afterwards it is very likely that you become very rigid and not able to move. I think the most interesting thing is to never stop getting curious or excited about different things and also not repeat what you have already done, just because you know it has worked once. That is important for me at the moment.


Could you tell us a childhood memory?

I used to sit on the window sill of my father’s room quite a lot, while he was typing at his desk, and watch what was going on outside in our backyard. There was a beautiful poplar tree growing right in front of the window. I remember one day we had a thunderstorm, in late May I think it would be. There was a really heavy rain and in the middle of the night, 3 o'clock in the morning or something, and the lightning struck the tree. The noise was terrible, like a bomb exploding, we all jumped from our beds. In the night we could not really see much from the window, but in the morning, when I looked out, the whole backyard was full of this poplar tree. Somehow when it fell it grew in size, it filled the whole backyard with its branches and leaves. I remember there was a girl I really liked. I was 6 or 7 years old and she was the only one I knew who had roller-skates. She was so graceful on this roller-skates, but she was 2-3 years older than myself so I had no chance at all. She had very long, dark hair. In fact I never had talked to her, but I knew where she lived because sometimes she would come out to the balcony, and I saw her out of my window. And this poplar tree had gone right into her windows. Somehow this made the whole thing even more exciting and beautiful for me. Although that morning she never came out to the balcony.

What do you do when you don't do anything?

I remember during the Soviet times we had summer vacations which lasted for 3 months. Both my parents worked at the university. So basically when the term was over they had more than 2 months free every year. Mid June we were going out of the city till the end of August, to a village where we rented a small house, and did just nothing! Just be there, we sat on the balcony, somebody was reading a book, probably my mother was cooking, my father sometimes had to go to Tbilisi. For me it was just sitting there and watching all kinds of things that happened and really doing nothing. Then as you get older, you start feeling that your time is limited, and you have to hurry because there are things left to be done, which is a stupid feeling, because it is no more limited than it was, you might die at any moment, even when you are 22. You have this feeling of it being urgent. Basically, now I am doing something all the time and I think that is out of this feeling that there is not much time left, which is stupid, anyway.


What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
Today I would say that what really interests me is the suburbs. Life is not active and that is why when you go to the suburbs, sometimes you have the feeling that the time has stopped. All these new buildings you see when you walk in the center and all the new cafes and shops and places where something else used to be. When you go to the suburbs it evolves much more slowly. Traveling to the suburbs is traveling back in time. The one interesting place is called Moscow Avenue, towards the airport, where you have basically block houses, old buildings. Or you can go to Gldani too. There are many people living there, but time is running differently there. You have a feeling that you are on a strange planet.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?

There are people I admire in Georgia, like Mamuka Lekiashvili for example, who is I think the one living poet in Georgia and whose writing and his whole life are absolutely amazing. I admire him, and he is my friend, and I enjoy being with him, but he is not inspiring me at all. I think People cannot be inspiring, ideas can be. Things somebody has done, a film by somebody, or one work, or series of work can be inspiring, but it can be also something which comes from somebody you do not like at all and there’s just this one thing that gives you the push.

What inspires you?

I think I have answered it more or less, ideas inspire me.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
My work is in two directions basically, or three. One part of my work is creative work. Here I think it does not really connect to Tbilisi. The other part is thinking about teaching methods. The third thing is the political aspect of what I am doing and I think that what I am doing is quite political. For me it is important that I am doing it here and not in any other place in the world. I feel this responsibility for the place I am living in. I want to act here, on a very small scale maybe – because I like this place. Tbilisi is an old city and it has had a very special atmosphere, traditions and relations between people, because the city was on the crossroad, where many cultures were mixing. I have felt this openness and readiness in cities like Amsterdam or Berlin somehow. What I like about Tbilisi is the ease of communication between people. They have this century-long training of how to say hello to people because they had to communicate with Arabs and Persians and Russians and Greeks. This is very much alive still, and I think it is important. I enjoy this culture of being easy with people.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #5 — Neli Tsivtsivadze



Who are you?
So, my name is Neli Tsivtsivadze. I'm currently a student. I'm studying to become a lawyer, and I'm working as a paralegal.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
I wanted to work with human rights. In Georgia, I think there are a lot of problems in terms of women's rights, racial, religious and sexual minorities, and so on… And that made me want to work more with these issues. That's why I decided to study law. That is one of the mechanisms that you can actually use to have some impact on the society. I know it sounds abstract and big but, you know, just small parts of it. I'll probably pick a small field, like one of the rights. Just work in a NGO or somewhere, I don't know… I tried to work at a public organization and then I started working at a private organization, just to see which one would be more effective. I'm just exploring different things…

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
My dream would be to just have a lot of time to travel around. To have experiences in different cities and different countries, to see more before I actually settle down and start working, and become concentrated on my profession. I just want to have the freedom to move around as much as possible.

Could you tell us a childhood memory?
When I was a kid, I was really afraid of mirrors. Usually, we think that we're looking in the mirror and we're seeing ourselves. And I would sit and I would think: maybe, it's not like that, maybe, it's the mirror that is looking at us. And we feel so free in front of the mirror because it's just us and the mirror, and we can be whatever we want. But maybe it's the other way around, the mirror is making you vulnerable to do whatever you want and it's just looking at you.

What do you do when you don't do anything?
I just sit in my room and listen to music. And I'm doing nothing. It's free space. I don't even have to think. My mind is occupied by the music.

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I like green areas in Tbilisi, like squares, Mtatsminda park maybe, Botanical Garden. And also older parts of Tbilisi, with smaller streets which have all this character and are very old. I think at the moment Tbilisi is going through great changes. Old parts of Tbilisi are turning very modern and it's not organic. So, I like being connected to these older parts which feel more like home or something, I don't know. Like our childhood, maybe. Maybe it was just like that.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
I would say that it would be my friend right now. We have been friends for five or six years. And it's a big presence in my life. We used to be very different and then we met each other, and now it's like six years later, and we are still these very different people but we see characters traits of each other in one another, and that feels very strange. And when you just look at how you used to be and how you are now and you feel you've done a good job; when you feel you have developed in some way through interconnection with other people - it feels great.

What inspires you?
At the moment, I would say music. The first song I listen to in the morning, that's how my day will go. When I'm going somewhere, I listen to music, and you know, it just determines how my mood goes, how my interconnection with other people goes… Sometimes, I'm walking in the street and I ask myself: what should I listen to? And you know that if you pick the wrong song, it will spoil everything. It will the spoil the moment.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Yes, I think so, because our society doesn't really like change. It's very reluctant to change and, I mean, in terms of people, we like people in general but we have a little trouble to like them individually, when people are different. We have a big comfort zone. I think that's maybe a complex from the Soviet era, because everything had to be very similar and that gave us a sense of comfort. We knew who these people were, because they were supposed to be just like us. And then, when you see that one person, who is different — and it can be some ideas, it can be religion, sexual orientation, it can be anything — it brings a sense of discomfort in many people. That's why some people tend to be a little bit aggressive. I think there is a lot of work to be done with that. It's very difficult to understand from which point of view you can focus on that problem. So I decided to work from the point of view of law. Maybe, there could be some changes in the legislation. You can think a lot about what to do about all these social issues, but I thought that this would be a way, a very specific way of addressing some of the problems I see and which I have encountered personally and which many of my friends have encountered. So it gives me a sense of being more in control of the situation, finding a way, a very specific plan, to deal with the issues that are very big and very hard to identify.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #4 — Tinatin Khomeriki



Who are you?
My name is Tinatin Khomeriki. I am a student doing my Masters in anthropology. I used to be a psychologist, but then I decided to choose something more interesting for me and something close to culture and society. So I chose anthropology. Between those times, I used to work at different organizations. I used to be a communication psychology trainer and I also worked for a publishing house as a PR manager.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
Well, I think it’s my interest towards different people, towards culture, towards what’s happening in the world today, on the cultural and social levels. And I think my love of other people, other cultures and my curiosity.

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
When I hear the word “ambition”, it somehow connects in my mind with career and official bureaucratic stuff. To me personally, my goals and my ambitions are to live as I think I should live, follow my dreams, my interests, analyze myself and my surrounding fully, to grow up as a person, to meet a lot of people, to feel emotions both positive and negative, just strong emotions, passions and feelings. As a professional I could say something like “I would like to go to Oxford and get another diploma”. I cannot say I am only a dreamer. I am quite pragmatic. I always try to think about the structure, think about my plans, how to do, what to do next. I am trying to combine the two, so that I feel comfortable and do not get lost in life.

Could you tell us a childhood memory?
Well, there is one of my childhood memories which I remembered when I arrived for the interview, when you started speaking French because my mom used to be a French teacher… I love the language, it sounds so familiar because my mum used to teach me French and she sang some French folk songs. When you were speaking, it just brought my memories to life again and my childhood in Georgia. It was a very difficult political situation. There was a civil war, some ethnic conflict and the country was very poor. There was no electricity most of the time when I was a child, no food, no water, nothing. I do not remember my childhood as a dark thing, or as a traumatic thing, not at all. Because we were surrounded with so many nice and interesting people. Even though there was no electricity, some friends of my parents used to get together almost every day and play jazz and sing and me and my brother used to make concerts with them and dance. I remember when my mother was sitting, there was no electricity, we had a candle on the piano, she used to play for us. She used to teach us how to dance waltz and my brother was so clumsy, constantly stepping on my feet. And books also, because when there was a civil war, we were not going outside that often. There was no public transport, it was scarcely working. We used to go to each other’s houses, me and my little friends. And books were kind of helping me. They were feeding my imagination. I used to read a lot and it brought a lot of information and a lot of fantasies about going to other exotic countries, maybe to islands, some fantastic places. Then I grew up, the situation became better. It changed but it remains as a good memory and a good experience.

What do you do when you don't do anything?
I cannot say I am a big party animal, but I am quite outgoing and I like big gatherings of people and I like observing it, because I am a psychologist and an anthropologist and that is the biggest part of my job. I love watching people and connecting with them too, but observing is the most interesting thing for me.

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
The places I love are connected with people I knew, with situations I had with my life stories. The best memories from my childhood are connected with Aghmashenebeli, Plekhaneov Street, because I used to go to school there and most of my friends used to live there and still live there. One of my friend’s house was kind of a magic house for me, it was very old and it had a big arch inside it, big stairs and there were paintings, like frescoes in the entrance; a cold and mysterious place. We loved playing there, hide and seek, it’s one of the great places I can remember.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
There’s a writer called Mikheil Javakhishvili, one of my favorite Georgian writers, I like his prose which is absolutely different from the prose of other authors. It’s very realistic. He used to be Russian speaking and he learned Georgian very late. He left everything and went to a village in Eastern Georgia as he thought that people living there preserved old Georgian. And so he bought a house and lived there. He learned such a good Georgian, his language is kind of a model for me. He was a very tragic person, because his mother and his sister were killed. Someone was trying to kidnap his sister and they were killed as he was young. It must have been such a big trauma for him, but he transformed the trauma in a good way. He became a deeper person and started thinking about other people’s feelings, other’s lives, other’s passions deeper which reflected on his prose. That’s why I think he is an inspiring person for me.

What inspires you?
Things I would find interesting are courage and maybe, sympathy towards other people, maybe some imagination and love. I think love is the most inspiring thing, it may sounds trivial, but anyway.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
The thesis I made was about the intellectual club of Georgia as a postmodern subculture. It was about a small club where a lot of people get together and play some intellectual games. Like Jeopardy if you know, when someone asks a question and you have to think of the answer soon. There are a lot of games like that, “What? Where? When?” based on everything in the world, like history, books, music, sports, politics, everything. I used to be one of the members of this group. It’s quite a big group, it consists of three hundred people maybe. Places where we meet used to change and at the moment we play in the university hall. It is connected to Tbilisi, because some cultural values and some aspects of this given subculture where kind of linked with micro culture of Tbilisi and Georgia, because it connects people from different occupations and fields. At the same table there might sit a CEO of a big company, a student, maybe an artist, different people. When they get together, it’s like a small model of Georgia. It gave me an impression about our culture seen from outside.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #3 — Manuchar Okrostsvaridze



Who are you?
My name is Manuchar Okrostsvaridze, which is not easy to pronounce and I am an artist. I live here in Tbilisi and I work here, that’s who I am.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
I just want and need to do art. If I do not do it I feel uncomfortable. I have probably something in my mind which I want to express and share with someone.

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
I am not a dreamer. If I want to achieve something, I just try to do it and I do not expect much. My ambition? I just want to be healthy, doing my job. I want my family to be OK.

Could you tell us a childhood memory?
I was not born in a country which is now Georgia. I was born in Soviet Union. I started thinking that maybe my childhood was a bit different, but a child is a child, nothing special. I went to the kindergarten, to the school. But life in the Soviet Union was more censored, not everything was allowed, we were listening to different music. Rock music was underground. Of course we had tapes, but it was not on TV, or radios. You had to find these tapes or record for yourself. We could not get abroad, because the border was closed. We could get to other republics, like Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, or even Latvia, but it was difficult to get out of Soviet borders. We needed to be allowed to cross the border. We were watching different cartoons, Soviet cartoons, which was not bad, quality was good, but they were different, they were also censored, not everything was allowed even for kids. What I remember very well: we could not get gums, and candies, which we wanted. We liked foreign candies and gums, we could get them, but not in a shop. There were special guys who used to sell it. That was special. But everything was interesting, as they looked very mysterious for us, Soviet children. We thought of Coca-cola as something brilliant. I remember, that it was late 80s maybe, when they allowed not Coca-cola, but Pepsi and it was a great thing then, when we first tried. Not everything was bad, but we dreamed about what we did not have. Maybe Georgian lemonade was better than Pepsi, but we dreamed about it. 

The art was also special in Soviet Union, it was called Social Realism. It was really not popular because it was official and you could see everywhere these pieces. 

What do you do when you don't do anything?
Thinking, because I am thinking all the time, so that is what I do when I don't do anything. I always have some ideas in my mind. I always think about maybe future drawings, or future art, that’s it.

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I do not have any favorite place in Tbilisi, expect of my home. 

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
Well, maybe, but still I do not have favorite persons and favorite places. I like thinking about Georgian people, if someone is successful, I like this, it is good. I like thinking about it. I am not sure someone inspires my art.

What inspires you?
Everything around. It maybe just a situation from my life, in the social life, maybe even politics, from relationships, anything. Very often I take inspiration from conflicts. I mean conflicts of ideas, between people or inner conflict. I think it does not matter what kind of conflict, but when it happens, it makes you think a lot. It can be origins for thinking and maybe you cannot solve this, but solution maybe in art. This piece of art maybe some way out of this conflict, which is not solved in real life, but it is solved in picture. This is interesting to me. Different things are in conflict together. It always gives me some emotions and some reasons for something.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Maybe not direct connection, but of course the situation influences my mood and thinking. In some way I am sure everything is in connection, so it influences. But mostly, I think Tbilisi and situations and relationships between people, social situations and social life influence me.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #2 — Tamrika Khvtisiashvili



Who are you?
My name is Tamrika. Tamrika Khvtisiashvili is my full name. I am Georgian. But I haven't lived here for 20 years, so for me, coming back is kind of a process every time. I have just started to come back the last five years. I am just finishing my dissertation. My specialization is language documentation. I work in Azerbaijan on indigenous languages of the Caucasus. And then I do films. Film is what I studied before I got into linguistics.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
I studied film in the US and then I decided that I wanted to continue, to get my masters and PhD, but I did not want to do it in film, because film, you just have to do it. So I got interested in formal, theoretical linguistics, and then I was trying to reconnect to the Caucasus. There are indigenous languages all over the world and my professor said why not study some of the languages that are disappearing in the Caucasus, either in Georgia or Azerbaijan or Armenia. So for me it was a way to kind of give back, or somehow reconnect to the Caucasus, without moving back.

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
I would love to do film as not a way of income, but as a way of living. I would love to just make films. Without having to be a professor. Be able to do that full time.

Could you tell us a childhood memory?
I do not know if this is a memory, but one thing I laugh about to myself is growing up in Georgia during Soviet times. I was obsessed with native American cultures, because in Georgia we did not know much about it of course, because we were so cut off from the other world because of the Soviet Union. But I read all of Mark Twain and anything that dealt with native American cultures in North America, or Canada. I would find the photographs of native Americans and I had them all over my room and everybody in my family and my friends thought it was really strange, because they did not know why I was so interested in it. Ironically, the state where I live and where I moved to is Utah, where there’s lots of native American tribes and I work with lots of them. I got into linguistics by working with native American people.

What do you do when you don't do anything?
I walk a lot, randomly. I do not know if that’s doing something. Because of the kind of work I do, I end up spending a lot of time alone. I travel a lot. Walking is a nice way to not be in your room and feel like you are not really alone, because there’s people around.

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I really like going outside to the suburbs where Tbilisi is less pretty. It’s almost more real there, you do not see tourists and you do not see people that have money, maybe. You see people living, sometimes I go to Varketili, Didube… It’s really interesting to go to that places.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
Yes, there is a woman I've just learned about. Elene Dariani. She’s Georgian and she wrote in 1920s. She was writing erotic poetry under her husband’s name. I think Georgia is still a very conservative country, quite sexist and chauvinist, even to this day and especially then. To write erotic poetry as a Georgian woman, I think this is fascinating. She was married three times, which is really unusual even now for a Georgian woman. And I like her writing not only because it’s erotic, she’s also a good writer.

What inspires you?
I guess I really like when I meet people that somehow manage to do what they want to do. I think that's really rare. There are very few people that are really doing what they want to do. Not because it is cool, or interesting, or beautiful, but because that’s just what they want. When I meet them I get really humbled, I really like that.

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
When you leave your roots and not go back for a long time, that really affects you. Coming from Georgia, I felt like I was raised in this really conservative way. In the US, because I went there alone, I had to figure out how to live on my own. I became more extreme with everything. All my friends just want equal rights, for instance, but I go extreme with my feminism. And I really think it has to do with being raised in Georgia. I almost try too hard to prove certain things. I think it’s connected to being Georgian.

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1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #1 — Data Chigholashvili



Who are you?
I am Data Chigholashvili, and officially my name is David. But Data is a short form of David in Georgian, Davit. You can call me David. I prefer Data. And by profession I am an anthropologist. I am doing my PhD for the moment at Tbilisi State University and I also work at GeoAIR. I usually work in visual and urban anthropology and I’m very interested in the collaboration that can happen and happens between social anthropology and contemporary art, predominantly in visual art.

What makes you or made you do what you do?
Good question and very self-reflexive. I was always interested in researching and studying, knowing more about how things work, how cultures work, how societies work, how all of this are linked, what processes are going on and also I was interested in arts. I’ve never really studied arts particularly, neither am I an artist, nor an art historian. But I always had this huge interest. And when I participated in a few projects, I realized that there is so much in common between what I was studying, which was anthropology, and contemporary art. I like the ethnographic approach in contemporary art and I find it interesting to link it with anthropology. Working with the people that you are writing about is the most important thing for me. To have them involved in a way. So I am developing it here, and it is really rewarding to see it happening in some projects.

What is your dream? Or your ambition?
My dream is to be able to fly. With or without wings, but fly.

Could you tell us a childhood memory?
The best thing that comes to me is rather general, referring to summer holidays when you go out at a countryside with your family and you do all kind of crazy things. You don’t have to study, but read books, once in a while, go out into the garden, go to swim… The whole family is around, all relatives, cousins, everyone. So many children. You basically are very creative in this kind of time. The games you are going to invent and play. It is just a nice whole childhood memory.

You know when you are a child, you don’t perceive negative things as badly as you do when you grow up. I grew up in the 90s and it was a really hard time in the country. Everything was kind of falling apart. It was because of the war and the period after war. There was no electricity, no running water for a few hours or sometimes a few days, and it was hard. I think it was hard especially for my parents’ generation who had small children in this period.

I remember it and of course it was strange, like you have a TV at home and you cannot turn it on because there is no electricity, that kind of things. You wanna watch something because you are a kid. If there is no electricity, you have to be creative, you cannot really read on the candle light that much, because it can hurt your eyes. So you would play with shadows and it was funny. It was a lot of fun. But it links to the period that we don’t really favor a lot. 

What do you do when you don't do anything?
Daydreaming. It is what I do when I do nothing. I take some time to relax and daydream. It is a very creative process, I think.

What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I like GeoAIR, here. And I love Betlemi district, because it’s very beautiful there. It’s so alive, nice view, nice people around.

Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
Let me think. It is more international in that sense. There are some writers, but it is not like I open their books and there is going to be a solution. It’s usually friends. They inspire me. And students inspire me a lot. Especially those I have worked with and I see that they are so open to new ideas and produce new stuff. It is just the best thing that can happen, you see the result that comes from them through the collaboration and that really, really inspires me.

What inspires you?
I find a lot of things inspiring, starting from everyday life situations. If I see people being happy, that is expressed in so many different ways, different things, that’s basically inspirational for me, I think.

Could also be objects, some things that you can relate to as a process and you can see the result of it.

Sometimes weather inspires me, a big wind or…

Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Tbilisi is basically my work. It is my “field”. You know when you do a field work as an anthropologist in the “classic” version you go somewhere and you work in the field, for a year or so. And you come back and write about it. In my case it’s basically having a field in the city where I have lived the most of my life and it’s a bit confusing sometimes, but it is also great. Just having this open, interested attitude towards a lot of stuff is great.

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Launch 1/2#8 at Camille Boyer Shop

13 January 2013 in Vienna

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Offprint Paris 2012

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1/2#7 Out Now!

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“Foto Kopie” for Beelddragers

We participated to the project from the collective Beelddragers. Here you can find more about the project: www.beelddragers.nl.

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C/O Berlin Book Days 2012

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Duplicata

3 May 2012 in Aufbau Haus, Berlin

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1/2 for Insight 51

1/2 was invited to create some Tees for the australian fashion label Insight 51. YES!

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