In the current issue of Artforum there is an article entitled, “Material Differences: Nikoloz Japardize On Georgian Architecture” and by Georgian they mean Eastern European Georgia and not dudes sodomizing other dudes while making them squeal like a pig Deliverance Georgia if you know what I mean.
Since nothing exists in a vacuum the article delves into the history of Georgia in an effort to provide some insight into the art and architecture that has emerged recently in this former Soviet state:
After the brief civil war in 1991, newly independent Georgia survived more than a decade of rationing, with limited hours of gas, power, and water daily. Georgians responded to this state of crisis by implementing alternative systems of supply, and, in turn an architectural vernacular emerged. The era saw a revival of the Silk Road, which opened merchandising routes from China, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, allowing easy import of cheap goods such as plastic water-storage tanks, small oil-power generators, portable gas heaters, and boilers. As Georgians increasingly circumvented rationing by employing these ad hoc systems, communal heating supply systems became redundant and cast-iron radiators were sold as scrap metal. Blocks of apartments were converted to individual units with self-supplied utilities. So the balconies of these dwellings were used as storage areas for boilers and generators, causing outdoor spaces to be overwhelmed by motor noise and the smell of oil.
The image you see above (click to enlarge) is a mixed media piece by Georgian artist Andro Wekua and if his last name sounds familiar it is because his father Vova was the Georgian political activist who was killed during the Sukhumi riots.
Anyway, as you can see it looks like, and maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part, those are solar panels on the top of that house. And if I may take it a step further perhaps the artist is envisioning a Georgia where self-sufficiency and freedom from the failure of central planning and inept leadership no longer has to smell like burning oil.
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