Perspective #2: Conflicted Landscapes

or, Losing the Ground from under One’s Feet

Working with an archive provides endless opportunities of interpretation as the process is frequently affected by certain circumstances or emotional states. Diving into the online archive of the Videonale, I was thinking about a possible topic of selection, as the collection of the materials stored on the platform offers an abundance of diversity and meanings. At one time or another, I would turn my attention to subjects such as technology, environment, identity or longing for forms of the moving image. However, at this given moment in time, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, it is hard to think about any other matter than conflict and violence. We have entered the third decade of the 21st century with a global health crisis caused by the pandemic, a resurgence of totalitarian tendencies, a massive war in Eastern Europe and rising economic inequalities. Perspectives for solutions or visions for a better future are lacking, and the question what tomorrow will bring us is open to a multitude of answers.

Hostilities, conflicts and political oppression bring about never-ending violence, often manifested in personal tragedies, forced displacements, disruption of livelihoods and other hardships. Conflicted landscapes are like wounds on the body of the earth breaking out over and over again without relief. Oftentimes the tendency to find justifications, to forget or to create alternate narratives for what actually happened is predominant.

Collective memory seems to be alienated from reality, but the pain and trauma do not fade away, they remain alive as the ghost next to a door. Archives can be a powerful tool in coming to terms with them as they have the potential to recall memories and find ways towards much-needed relief.

My selection from the Videonale online archive encompasses works that touch upon the issues mentioned above: 3 Logical Exists by Mahdi Fleifel, a documentary story of a man living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon; fuck the war by Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, a stunning piece which brings me back to my childhood memories of playing war games in the early 1990s, when Georgia was ravaged by wars and it was one of the most popular games for children; Anumbumin by Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler, an emotionally taxing work that describes the hidden political and economic oppression of the citizens of Nauru island; and Chaos by Julie Kuzminska, an abstract narrative flow of visuals and sound that expressively resonates with the given selection.

Additionally, in relation with the playlist from the Videonale archive, I am referring to two pieces by Georgian artists to build dialogue and open up further perspectives in the context of the given thematic spectrum: Speechless(2009) by Salome Jashi and Lost & Found – Spell to Return a Lost One(2020) by Mariam Natroshvili & Detu Jincharadze.

Giorgi Spanderashvili

*For further viewing, I would also recommend the following pieces, although so far I have only been able to see excerpts and read descriptions available through the online video archive of Videonale:

Eden’s Edge by Gerhard Treml & Leo Calice
Walls Have Feelings by Eli Cortiñas
Xenos by Mahdi Fleifel

About the person

Giorgi Spanderashvili is a Georgia-based curator, art manager and cultural professional. Since 2010, he has been engaged in the fields of contemporary visual and performing arts, and has worked on a number of local and international projects. He is a co-founder & co-curator of Georgian video art archive and independent new media art platform In-between Conditions. This year, he has curated Georgian National Pavilion at 59thVenice International Exhibition – Biennale Arte 2022.

Perspective #2 was created in cooperation with the Office

Image Credit: Video still: Mahdi Fleifel, 3 Logical Exits, 2020 © Mahdi Fleifel/ Courtesy Square Eyes

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