Bakhneli Archive - performance
Gela Patashuri, Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin

The installation and performance “Bakhneli Archive” is the result of collaboration between Georgia’s Gela Patashuri, Japan’s Ei Arakawa and the USA’s Sergei Tcherepnin.

The installation “Bakhneli Archive” was realised in the Georgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, curated by Joanna Warsza. The pavilion was a parasitic extension erected on the roof a Venetian Arsenal building. This type of structure, known in the Caucasus as a kamikaze loggia, reflects the spontaneously developing architecture of 1990s Georgia, vernacular extensions of Soviet blocks, where scrap and found materials were often utilised to expand and transform terraces and balconies.

At the heart of the installation by Patashuri, Arakawa and Tcherepnin is a script that inspires their work together. It is formed from a collection of poems by Georgian construction worker Alexi Bakhneli, who was also Patashuri’s father. The anthology of nearly 300 poems, dating from 1978 to 2003 (the year of the author’s tragic death), is Bakhneli’s personal commentary on the socio-political situation in Georgia spanning a quarter of a century. Using the script composed of the poems’ first verses and musical cues for sounds emitted by the kind of Japanese radios that were common in the Caucasus in the 1970s, the artists put together a performative sound installation that converted the loggia into a stand-alone loudspeaker and instrument. The poetry was translated into pavillon’s architecture.

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