Glasses Crack, Tablecloths Splinter
Film | Digital | Sound | 17" | Georgian and English | 2022
'Glasses Crack, Tablecloths Splinter' is a documentary essay film developed around a series of newly digitized Georgian home video cassettes. The film teleports viewers back in time to trawl the kitchens and living rooms of the 90's, as the filmmaker embarks on a domestic ethnography of life during the period of transition that followed the demise of the Soviet Union.
This film had its domestic premiere at Tbilisi International Film Festival, in the Georgian Panorama section, Dec 2022.
Film | Digital | Sound | 8" | Georgian | 2023
Nika, a mentally and physically handicapped 14-year-old, becomes traumatized and afraid to leave the house after a firecracker explodes in his hand over New Year. In the weeks after this incident, Nika's neighbor Giorgi begins paying him visits in an effort to rekindle his confidence.
Instead of Anatole
Film | Digital | Sound | 15" | Georgian and Russian | 2021
Instead of Anatole examines the history of a former Soviet-era power station through the abandoned archive of its final worker, a Russian war veteran who lived in difficult material conditions on the territory, often without water or electricity. Anatole disappeared several months before the opening of the 2021 installment of Oxygen Biennial, which was held in the place where he lived and worked. The film was screened on the concluding night of the exhibit.
Oxygen Biennial, Tbilisi, Georgia
The Engines of Visibility
“I heard there was a man called Anatole who disappeared from here recently. He lived on the floor above the CCA. When a cat appeared in his place, they named the cat after him, and then the cat disappeared too…”
By the time I met him, Anatole Nikitin no longer frequented 10 Dodo Abashidze Street, the grounds of a former industrial site that he had lived in and worked at for decades. Intrigued by a stray comment that referred to his disappearance, I spent the month of August following the traces that he’d left in his wake.
Film | Digital | Sound | 17" | Georgian | 2021
As a political and health crisis foments in the republic of Georgia, folk singers, winemakers and retired maths teachers attempt to restore harmony through practices that integrate ancestral knowledge.
Produced in the Stanford MFA Documentary Film and Video program.
First printed in 365 newspaper
I often find myself faltering when I’m asked to explain what my films are about. I find it much easier to explain how they came about — the consequences that shaped them, like the angles of geography that direct water to move in a particular way.
My current film was germinated by the reminder of a childhood mythology. As a child, I always thought that the colorful mosaic that stood above the theatre on Vazha-Pshavela Avenue was the place that people visited when they fell asleep. Carried by the unvalidated conviction that tends to harbor in the minds of children, I thought the mosaic was called ‘Iavnana’, lullaby — the place of dreams. This perception was bolstered by the apparent inaccessibility of the structure in waking life. It had neither doors nor windows, only a hallucinatory, three-dimensional facade that was ornamented by pulsating forms.
As summer condensed into the sticky heat of August, I began to think about Georgia’s Soviet legacy in a localized sense. The theatre on Delisi was flanked by a long slab of temporary construction walling, a surface that was pasted reiteratively with posters of politician’s faces. Dig just a millimeter or two beneath, and you would uncover an archaeological site of expired political claims, battling with the other advertisements and expletives that tend to stack up in public space. I could never remember this wall not being there. Like much of the landscape of Tbilisi, the provisional had inadvertently become permanent.
Excerpt, printed on the occasion of pending upending, an exhibition by Kobby Adi at Goldsmith's CCA Gallery
Presented to accompany solo exhibition, The Cabinet, at Treignac Projet, France, 2020
Subdued beneath a fine layer of dust, the cabinet is a scene beyond its own appointment.
Perfectly still, the china lies unthought, delivered from carnality, and only monumental.
Only for the occasional glance does it perform: a solemn play of light, an affected bow,
a sequence of rehearsed images.
Formality reigns, setting a place for ideal forms that -- having never arrived -- are never considered gone.
This formality signs a contractual release for the hurried, irregular mass of living to go on.
The cabinet conserves the role of a drab paragon,
called to testify upon the release of a tension for perfection.
As far as anyone is concerned, they are as deaf, dumb, and as mute,
and as necessary, as icebergs.
Pause with the spirits of utility.
They are hard-heard and uneasy, like a draft beneath a door.
They belong to a world without mirrors, and deflect the gaze.
When their backs break, when they go to rest,
they take their final lodgings in the tide
— Just as one of a thousand things moving
gradually, without very much ceremony, from sight.
Film | Digital | Sound | 5" | Georgian | 2020 |
In the anonymous rooms of 5-star hotels in cities and resorts across Georgia, thousands of people have been learning what it means to be locked inside the same room for two weeks. These people live behind a veil; they sleep, they pace, they examine the life that exists beyond their window pane — perhaps exchanging furtive goods, or words of camaraderie with their floor-mates; those with whom they share lost time.
1412 received the juror's prize in the COVIDEO section of Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival.
It also featured as part of a video installation, Mementos from the 14th Floor, at Project Artbeat's Moving Gallery in Orbeliani Square, Tbilisi, 12-20 Sept 2020.
Digital | Sound | 9" | English & Georgian | 2020 |
(For Mamuka, who films the sunrise every morning from his home)
Internal Sun takes its cue from the 12 hour time difference between the filmmaker’s original home in Tbilisi, Georgia and the far-flung home that they established in Northern California during the state's first shelter-in-place order. Where one is bright, the other is invariably dark; the film dwells on this paradox of simultaneous opposition, convening both sides of the sun into a personal and improvised logic.
The Nocturnal Hum
16mm film, digitised | Sound | 5" | English | 2019 | Production assistant: Michael T. Workman
"It's not a military secret. It's not the sanitation district. It's not the Army Corps of Engineers. It's not an extraterrestrial, a nuclear device, or a Russian submarine."
The Nocturnal Hum concerns the filmmaker's discovery of acoustic similarities between two forms of sound that are native to Northern California: the warble produced by foghorns as they guide ships in the bay to safety, and a resonant hum that is produced by toadfish during mating season. These sounds have undulated through the Bay Area for generations, perforating public and private space. The film is also about the visual similarities between fog and smoke, the signals that guide us, and the place of perceptual multiplicity in light of the increasingly unequivocal presence of climate change.
"As the world, and the fog attenuated, and the images grew — all too few, and too clear / The fish grew silent, and the signals did too / and it would, one day, become hard / to communicate the passage to safety"
Looping video installation | Sound | 25" | Georgian and English | 2018
Avirbin Chamovirbine explores grief through - among other things - the thread of a moth-eaten carpet, a grandmother’s visit to her parents’ graves, an ageing sculptor’s difficulty carving a portrait of his granddaughter, and the connection between sericulture and mortality.
The film is arranged somewhat like a song without a chorus. It offers a series of glimpses and suggestions, drawn up from an indentured feeling of longing and inconsolability.
Goldsmiths BAFA Degree Show, London, UK, June 2018
K'edeli (The Wall)
Split-screen video installation | Sound | 15" | Georgian | 2017
K'edeli shifts between two oral narratives based in the village of Surami, Georgia: one, a legend of the local village fortress, and the other a true, familial account of marital kidnap, as recounted by my grandparents at our kitchen table. The screens place these tales in equivalence, as they meditate on the ways collective fictions propagate through lived experience.
Treignac Projet, France, as part of Waiting to Speak, July 2018
Goldsmiths BAFA Degree Show, London, UK, June 2018