off/line 2018: What can art do in Zemo Nikozi?

New dynamics in our relationship to Zemo Nikozi


This year was our fourth edition of the exchange project off/line: what can art do in Zemo Nikozi? in the village next to the demarcation line to South Ossetia. It was a great pleasure to see how Zemo Nikozi’s residents have grown accustomed to the arrival and the temporary stay of our large group, which consisted of 12 artists from Western Europe, 12 artists from Georgia, 2 translators and 2 curators. They welcomed us with openness, invited the guests to Supras by the campfire, engaged freely in the proposed artistic projects and, not least, presented their own artistic skills on the final event’s open stage, which attracted visitors from the whole region.

The growing familiarity surrounding our collaboration in Zemo Nikozi has also given us more insight in some existing tensions in the village. Like every year, the host families earned money for hosting members of our group. For the first time, however, we had not simply select families and asked them to host, but we organized a lottery where they were selected by chance. This essentially transparent and fair procedure caused quite a stir in the village. For the first time, personal interests and conflicting perceptions of fairness were clearly formulated. This in turn challenged our own ideas of conflict sensitivity. However, the discussions also lead to a more active stance the residents took towards the project. For the first time, the community expressed their interest in the project’s budget, the origin of the money and the objectives we follow. A friendly reticence was replaced by an active debate that brought our relationship to another level. During this debate, the meaningfulness of the stay of the artists in the village was never questioned. This is why we want to further engage in these new dynamics of our relationship next year.



Participating artists: 

Aleko Avazashvili, Baptiste El Baz, Nathalie Brechbühl, Paula Ďurinová, Elene Gabrichidze, Mariam Giunashvili, Eka Ketsbaia, Tamar Khmiadashvili, Ilia Kobeshavidze, Nathalie Koger, Manuela Luterbacher, Stephanie Müller & Klaus Dietl, Johanna Padge, Solomon Razmadze, Evan Ruetsch, Tsira Sanaia, Lena Lieselotte Schuster, Levan Shvelidze, Jelko Terziev, Natuka Vatsadze, Nurith Wagner-Strauss, Nino Zirakishvili.

The project was supported by the Max Kohler Stiftung, Switzerland.


Local project coordinator: Lali Pertenava