The Art Camps are a period of collaborative work of students of the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Tbilisi State Academy of the Arts in Shida Kartli, a region of Georgia, which has been strongly affected by the war of 2008.
Long lasting tensions, and finally a war in this region on the southern slopes of the Caucasus, led to a de-facto separation of South Ossetiafrom Georgia in 2008. Many people of South Ossetian and Georgian background had to leave their homes. On the Georgian side of the present Administrative Border Line (ABL) today, live approximately 20,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). A small number of these refugees found accommodations with relatives or in private homes, often in Tbilisi, while about 12,000 people live in 38 different IDP settlements of 60 to 2000 small, pre-fabricated houses set up by the Georgian state and international donors in the vicinity of the ABL (the settlement of Khurvaleti, the location of the Art Camp, is one of them). In the present political situation, for most of these people (except perhaps for those coming from the Akhalgori district) the likelihood of being able to return in the near future is very slight.
The refugees receive a very small monthly allowance from the Georgian state and support themselves with crops form the small gardens or patches of land around each house. Their mobility is restricted and the rate of unemployment is much higher than the already very significant unemployment in the country.
In 2015, the project Art Camp, a period of collaborative work of students of the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and the Tbilisi State Academy of the Arts in a region of Georgia, which has been strongly affected by the war of 2008, continues in its third phase in the village of Zemo Nikozi. This village is situated right at the line of demarcation and is well known, not only or the destruction it experienced in this war, but also as a centre of apple production in Georgia.
Between 27. 9. and 11. 10. 2015, twelve students from ZHdK will meet the same number of art students from Tbilisi to stay in Zemo Nikozi in the houses of several families of the village. There they will use their position as external visitors and work in small, mixed groups to observe and conduct art interventions about the local situation and the people who live in this region. In using various art-media and techniques, explorative, process oriented proceeding is given preference over finished products.
The aims of the project concern, on the one hand, the place and the local population, on the other hand and for the students, the structures of collaborations and encounters with foreign cultures. They are:
Again this project was accompanied by the NGO "Biliki" aus Gori (run by Marika Mgrebishvili), by the Zurich University of the Arts teachers Franziska Koch and Dagmar Reichert, and by teachers from Tbilisi.
Society Biliki, Gori
Tbilisi State Academy of Arts
Zurich University Of the Arts