Tbilisi mission complete

Stoff 2013 report:  The show @ CCA Tbilisi

Stoff’s Georgian adventure is over for this time. The exhibition is wrapped up and our featured artist (Heidi, Miguel & Pacoco) are back at home base. Judging by the first reports, the residency at CCA Tbilisi was a success. Full house, engaging audiences plus a bunch of brand new friendships. What else can you ask for? Couldn’t make it to Tbilisi on Saturday night? Want to know what went down? Don’t worry, we got it all documented. While the video team is rendering their footage here is a first account of what our artist dished up in Georgia.

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(Above: a panoramic view of audio visual masterpiece “The Time” orchestrated by the very talented Miguel Regalado in collaboration with Pacoco Gil).

“We chose “Fringe – a democratic stage” as the theme for our  residency @ CCA Tbilisi. The goal of this project is to create bridges between arts communities in Caucasus and the EU zone, lay the ground for future creative collaborations, support democracy through art and spread the notion of the fringe in the  region. Thanks to the generous support of the CCA Tbilisi our artist had three rooms at their disposal. Pacoco, Miguel and Heidi where given full artistic freedom to transform these spaces to present their work of choice. Pacoco and Miguel arrived a few days before the rest of the team and scouted local handyman shops, flee markets and streets for suitable installation materials. They’v gone to great lengths to source most of the materials in the CCA neighbourgood. An group of local artist and students involved with CCA Tbilisi helped out to set up the installations.  Heidi (Ingentinget)  joined the team a few days later as her work could be prepped in Stockholm prior to departure. It’s been the case of many little streams create a river. We are proud of the creativity and incentive showed by the artist team picked for this project”   says Adam Potrykus from Stockholm Fringe Fest (Stoff).

Want to know more about  the preparation of this project? Please read this article. 

The opening night

Young Stoff 2012 & 2013 artist Ingentinget was the first point of call for anyone who entered the show venue at CCA. Her durational performance of “Chew On” was set against a backdrop of white walls and a concrete floor.  All eyes focused on the act of chewing. Many audience members walked up to the artist inspecting the chewing up close. Some took advantage of the headphones at hand to listen to the action.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 17.12.07While Heidi continued her “Chew On” performance Adam Potrykus from Stoff welcomed the gathering audience speaking of the fringe as a democratic stage, the motivation behind the festival,  the StoffNet and Young Stoff branches of the festival and opportunities for Caucasus based artist who want to become a part of Stoff 2013. Pictures from previous Stoff editions where projected in the background (Do you want to know more about Stoff 2013 & the festivals engagement in Transkaukazja 2013?  Programme out  June 6th).

Stoff 2013 artist and collaborator Pacoco Gil presented his ongoing project  ”Forrest of Kisses”. At first glance Pacoco’s installation transports it’s  visitors to a happy place. The feeling of a summer relaxed park comes to mind.

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A second look reveals that the room with hanging sculptures of 2nd hands shoes, cloths and kiss filled jars connects its visitors with thousands of stories from around the world. The main ideas is that people who are in need of a little bit of love can open up a little jar and collect a kiss or you can also deposit a kiss or two. Its a give and take scenario. Each kiss is documented. Each jar is unique.

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The artist  (Pacoco) roams the room collecting “fresh” kisses (adding to the 3500+ strong collection already at hand). The action provoked curiosity and laughter mixed with moments of reflection (To find out more about what possibly is the largest collections of kisses in the world read our pre-show article from 27th of April).

As Heidi continued to chew Pacoco Gil made its way into the show rooms at CCA marking the beginning of Miguel Ragalado’s audio visual performance of The Time. The audience is taken on a (joy?) ride across a multimedia landscape. Radio and TV voices mixed with video and motions graphics screened over “media manipulator” installation. The artist sports a VHS cassette mask with led spotlights eyes.  Read more about the motivation to the work here. When The Time wrapped the audience stumbled upon a second performance by Ingentinget. This time the artist presented “Deviation” (part of the “Lump series”).

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The action of a young woman slowly covering her entire head with clay (creating an “elephant (wo)man” like creation) stunned the audience. An entire room filled to the brink with people observing in silence.

Afterwards the audience had a chance to mingle with the artist and ask questions about the works presented.

Wrap up / reflections

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“I think that tonight was all about connecting and breaking down barriers. This has been the case the entire stay here. From language barriers to cultural differences”. We have bonded enormously  with the local crew here. Creating entire installations from scratch in a foreign country can be challenging but also a great laugh. This residency reflected what Stoff is about, bridging, barrier breaking, a forum that creates opportunities.   says Pacoco prior to leaving Tbilisi.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 15.22.15“The entire experience has been great. Its amazing to have the opportunity to bring your work overseas. I feel that my performance pieces have gained new meaning in a way. Each new audience interaction and reaction brings the works to a new place. I was surprised by how well received  both “Chew On” and “Deviation” . The audience had  what I like to call an honest curiosity.  They came pretty openminded and where not afraid to ask questions afterwards” says Heidi (Ingentinget).

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 15.06.44This is the first time I’v done a project like this. I’v worked  with both music, video making and VJ’ng  for many years (Argentina/Sweden) but it’s the first time I’m involved with a platform like Stoff. Coming to Georgia has been a wild ride. Nothing is what is seems.  Myself and Pacoco lived in the CCA artist residence room situated at the centre. The local artist accompanied us from dusk till dawn. You can say that the artist have  become like a family here. . Working, eating together and laughing together. It feels like we have been here a month (in a positive way of course).. So many moments to process” says Miguel Regalado while recoding interviews for this his documentary about the Stoff 2013 residency experience.

Thank you from the Stoffice: The Tbilisi residency was filled with interaction between the Stoffholm based artist and their Georgian counterparts. We like to extend a huge thank you to the local crew who guided our team through culinary adventures Tbilisi style.  Team bonding was executed according to local tradition – in a hot spring (Sulphur) bath!  Want to know more about Tbilisi and it’s hot spring baths? Check out the visit Georgia site. Last but not least, another HUGE thank you to our artists!

Hot Stoff!

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