Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Exchange Academy
Concept and organization GeoAIR, Georgia
Freya van Dien (NL); Onno Dirker (NL): Sophia Tabatadze (NL/GEO)
2-23 April, 2008, Silk Museum, Tbilisi 
During three weeks a group of Georgian, Dutch, Turkish and Armenian artists created platform for exchange of information, brainstorm sessions, group and individual projects and research on and around the theme: contemporary art archive. At the end of the working period of three weeks the project opened to public with a final presentation. The public and art sector of Tbilisi were involved in the project through lectures, workshops and artists talks.
Main questions of the project were:
Is it achievable, and if yes how, for one person or a group of people to use the experience of the other people/group and start their project from step further, with the help of already accumulated experience.
Project setting:
For avoiding the known setting of the artists being invited somewhere to a distant place for a short while, in order to produce quick work that concludes into an exhibition, of which not much remains after the departure of the artists, we decided to go the other way and change the setting.
Suggestion was that the invited artists would work on a real problem that is present in Georgia, namely lack of archive or a base where the information and experience about contemporary art can be brought together. This information can have various forms, including collection and registration the projects like ‘Exchange Academy’. Thus the question was to think of ‘archiving’ the project like we were part of as a process of the project itself.

As there was the group ‘Archidrome-Contemporary Art Archive’ working on these issues in Tbilisi, it was only natural to couple these two groups. From the organizational point of view these two could have filled each other up. Archidrome team would give/share the insights about what is going on in Georgia, why there is a need to have an archive, what kind of an archive is being created by Archidrome, etc. And on the other hand the fresh look from the visiting and local artists about this problems, how to build an interesting archive, what questions should the archive answer, should an archive have a form and place, or should it remain as a concept in a virtual setting.

And third one, the organization was State Silk Museum. This organization served as a location where the project took place and raised it’s own questions: how to give a new life to and existing and aging institution. How to collaborate with young public and artists dealing with contemporary issues.

The programme also included artists' talks, discussions and film screenings:
April 9 - Georgian Modernism by Nana Kipiani / Screening of the film by Kote Mikaberidze: "My Grandmother" 1929
April 17 - Conceptual art in Georgia by Khatuna Khabuliani / Screening of the videos by Nino Sekhniashvili
April 21 - Artist talk by Vahram Agasyan; Can Altay
Participating Artists:
Vahram Aghasyan (ARM); Can Altay (TR); Lado Darakhvelidze (GEO); Onno Dirker (NL); Ergün Erkoçu (NL);
Kote Jincharadze (GEO); Kote Sulaberidze & Nino Chilashvili (GEO); Sophia Tabatadze (GEO/NL); Peter Zuiderwijk (NL)
Participatants from “Archidrome” - Contemporary Art Archive, Georgia
Nini Palavandishvili; Ani Chorgolashvili; Lali Pertenava; Sophia Kilasonia; Sophia Tabatadze.
Participant from State Silk Museum, Georgia
Nino (Chuka) Kuprava
Project was financial supported by:
Stroom, the Hague (NL)
European Cultural Foundation (NL)