A. A. of G., a story

K.B my Artificial Artist of Georgia

I had a residency with GEOAIR in October 2011 and my subject was to make an Artificial Artist of Georgia.
What’s an Artificial Artist? I’m not sure I know it myself.
Is there any Natural Artist so to speak?
Personally, I do not believe that you are born to become an artist. Even if all your family is into art and nobody thought you could ever become anything else than an artist, you still need one day to make the personal decision that you are an artist you must to invent yourself as an artist. So one way or another, every artist is a made-up artist, a personal invention. Every artist is a creation.

One day you realise that you can potentially detach your self-made artist from your own identity, that your private person and the artist that you are, are separate entities . Therefore, you find out that it is possible to create “an-artist-as-a-work-of-art”. This is what I did several times in my artistic career: I have created virtual persons who are different artists

And when I say “create“, what I really mean is “discover“.  It is of common knowledge that the best creations always appear effortlessly, as if they were already there, waiting to be discovered and revealed by you. This doesn’t mean that you need to do nothing in order to discover what you want to create. On the contrary, you have to search for a long time, to be constantly alert, if not completely obssessed, you need to travel far, and undo all your preconceptions…. And one day, maybe, when you expect it the least, it is there, in front of you, waiting to be picked up, like a diamond in the dirt, and you wonder why could no one else see it!

An “Artificial Artist” is how I named what I wanted to find in Tbilissi, in short an A. A. of G.
A residency in GEOAIR seemed like the best possible place to do that. When I arrived in Tbilissi the first thing I did was roaming around the streets of the city and the first thing I found was a series of large scale graffitis asking “Where can I find the Museum of Contemporary Art?



I was amazed! I thought such a claim could only come from my Artificial Artist asking to come to existence.
But that wasn’t the end of my search. If there was an Artificial Artist of Georgia, this was only the negative imprint of its existence, the sign of an absence claiming to come to realisation. The search had to continue.
The hosts of GEOAIR (Sofia T. and the others) started to connect me with people who might want to embody the role of A. A. of G., willingly or unwillingly, consciously or unconsciously. They organized meetings and workshops, they took me to openings and cultural events and introduced me to the artistic scene.
While I was enjoying these encounters, I kept wondering which of them could ever become my own A.A. of G. ? Would my A. A. of G. have a face? A name? Would he/she be alive or dead? Would it be just a commemorative copper plate in front of a building? Would it be a house turned into a museum? Or would it be a graffiti as the only sign of his/her existence?



One month residency is a short time to complete a creation, and before I knew, I had to return to Amsterdam.
But once at home, the search went on. I felt compelled to continue the blog that documented my research. I had stored so many pictures which were still waiting for their meaning to be unfolded. My A.A. of G. could perhaps be found in one of the pictures, as an innocent passer-by in the city…
I had entered the residency of GEOAIR one day in october 2011 and somehow I never really left it.
I am still an artist resident in Tbilissi, I update the blog, I edit the pictures, I follow the Facebook friends I made there, I gather online material and I still expect that precious gem I’m looking for to be spotted among the gravel.

One day I happened to notice a girl who was constantly posting pictures of herself in Facebook, a girl I had met very briefly in Tbilissi when she came for one of my artist’s presentations.
Everything about that girl was very original, idiosyncratic even. She didn’t follow a fashion but was clearly designing her own style. Tiny, with very long, dark, free-floating hair parted in the middle, wearing oversized bright orange clothes, you would recognise her in a group picture immediately.

K. B. (let’s call her like this, to retain some privacy to her name) was neither a girl nor a boy, not androgynous either, but maybe of a yet unknown gender of which she is the only representative as for now. She was neither a kid nor a grown-up, she was without a specific age, like comic-strip characters. She was devoted to many good and progressive causes, green party advocate, ecology supporter, gay pride participant, her presence was noted in many public events and demonstrations, but that didn’t seem to define her or to restrict her personality to the cause she was defending at that moment.


She seemed to be a real party-animal who liked to go out and drink until the late hours and yet was often seen with a straight face, sometimes a melancholic expression, standing away from the group, lost in her thoughts. She had a very a very busy social life withan immense, unlimited, secret inner world.
I must add here that this is completely a personal imagination of who K. B. is, because I absolutely knew nothing about her except the pictures she posted on Facebook or the ones in which she was tagged by her friends. All I’m saying here is deducted from the countless pictures I saved and collected meticulously.

I never informed K. B. or asked permission to collect her pictures. I simply appropriated K. B. and every trace of her that she would care to publicise. Appropriation might seem a morally and socially wrong action, an equivalent to stealing. But in art, appropriation is a well known practice, a whole trend in conceptual art, meaning that you recognise as your own work of art what somebody else has made.
K. B. had become my own work of art, my own ready-made to quote the term coined by Marcel Duchamp.
If every human being is an artist, as Beuys stated, and if every artist is a also a work of art, as I said, why can’t every human being be a work of art? Simple logic!

So K. B. was my Artificial Artist of Georgia, my A. A. of G, the work of art I wanted to make during my residency.
And she still is.

She is hardly posting any picture of herself lately, but she hasn’t lost her special status to my eyes, and she never will. Maybe one day she’ll cut her hair and stop wearing orange clothes and I won’t even recognize her anymore, but she will still be my work of art.
Art is eternal but people aren’t and they do not have to conform to their own image, even when their images are the material of a work of art. Sometimes I wonder what I will do with K. B. in the future? In what form will her existence as a work of art be expressed in front of an audience? Will I transform her into a film? A novel? A slide show? A web documentary? A performance in the public space? A poster campaign? A graffiti template to be reproduced on the walls of the city? A banner in a street demonstration? A mask for an anonymous protest?

Occupy Tbilissi with K. B. !


There might also be art forms in the future which I’m even unable to imagine at the moment and I do hope that one day K. B. will find her way to an audience into one of these unconceivable forms.
For the time being, she has become a good subject for a text inside a publication celebrating the 10th anniversary the artist’s residency in GEOAIR.
Is that a good enough artistic form for an Artificial Artist of Georgia?



The blog to my artistic residency can be found here:  http://aa.virtualperson.net/

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