Report of the residency of Martine Neddam October 2011 in Tbilissi, Georgia.

The residency took place under the care of GEOAIR, ( a young and active group of artists/curators in charge of exhibitions, manifestations, public events, and artist residencies (

I was hosted in a beautiful and comfortable flat situated in the old area, close to the art academy. The flat was recently renewed, perfectly designed, had all facilities (including a high bandwidth internet connection). The best feature of the place was the incredible scenic view overlooking the city. The GEOAIR team was very helpful and competent. They had appointed an assistant who I could phone any time if I wanted to help in daily life or just to get around in the city. The GEOAIR team would also take me around to openings and events, connected me with the local artistic scene and introduced me to many people, using their own network very generously.

The purpose of this residency, as I defined it initially, was to create an “Artificial_Artist” in Tbilissi. In my artistic practice since many years I create virtual characters on Internet, so I considered creating a new virtual person which could express the artistic atmosphere of Tbilissi, my own vision of what it is to be an artist in Tbilissi.

I had decided from the beginning that my research, whatever the outcome of it would be, would be archived day by day on a blog, where I collected visual material and ideas. I chose to do it in a very designed and careful way so that the result would not look as a messy notebook, but as a well-designed publication, and could still be interesting to view, long after the research had ended.

I connected with the artistic scene with the intention of finding collaborations. My hope was to find a person who would accept to become a sort of “model” for this virtual artist I intended to do, somebody who would inspire me and compose with me this virtual person I wished to be making.

A month period was, of course, a very short time for such an investigation, but the GEOAIR team helped me, they sent out calls for an artistic presentation and a workshop during 2 evenings, so I could meet people interested in the subject and pursue the contacts on my own.

(Photos of the workshop archived by GEOAIR)

I hooked up, among other people, with a group of young student girls who very active on facebook, and a media expert who was running a satirical website, and I kept following them online until now. I also got acquainted with the curating activities of GEOAIR which were focused on re-thinking the public space. I became aware that whatever collaboration I could engage with people would certainly take me a lot more time to become fruitful.

During my short stay in Tbilissi (one month) I researched “traces of art” by walking around in the city. I found out how art was present in an “underground” way, through grafittis or some unexpected public interventions, whether spontaneous or organised. Most of the time it was difficult to tell if what I saw was meant as art or not. I must confess that more often than not, art was in the eye of the beholder, art, or the desire for art was a sort of filter which made me see Tbilissi in a special way.

Among other “traces of art” I followed an artistic intervention throughout the city, a repeated grafitti (“Excuse me, where can I find the contemporary art museum“), the ironical message of an invisible artist.

Knowing that these graffitis have now disappeared, I am glad that I have archived them and witnessed the interventions of this artist of Tbilissi commenting on his own artistic environement.

I have been constantly feeding a blog with my reflections and research, creating numerous illustrated posts under such categories as “Oversized Symbols” or “Art in Tbilissi”.

It took me a long time to write this report because I thought I had to complete the work first. But now I realise that it is a work that cannot be completed as such, it has become an
ongoing research.

A bond between this city and me has been created and I am now connected to their artistic atmosphere. I have been following their events ever since, I have sent a proposals for the open call and I have followed the manifestation at a distance (Undergo the Parrallells in June 2012) and re-blogged it.

I also get a special connection to Georgian projects taking place in Amsterdam, like the presentation of Lado Darakhvelidze at SmartprojectSpace who lectured in an artistic and performative manner about the complicated political situation in Georgia.

Although I have not litteraly created an Artificial_Artist as announced in the project, I have outlined a concept, a possibility specific to a the particular situation of Tbilissi. I have formulated my quest to a point where the question is more eloquent than any answer.

I am continuing the blog, as long as I can find interest and connection to the subject, with, in the back of my mind, the desire to return and create an artistic event on the spot.

List of illustrations

The pictures presented here are contextualized inside the blog