For Mondays #4, Tekla Aslanishvili + Vera Tollmann: Scenes from Trial and Error

In 2021 in the exhibition Sensing Scale, Tekla Aslanishvili showed her essayistic documentary Scenes from Trial and Error (2020). The film deals with the Georgian government’s utopian project of building a futuristic city with a deep-sea port in the small fishing village of Anaklia located on the Black Sea coast, aimed at fostering the country’s economic growth. The idea was to develop a central hub on the New Silk Road. Initiated in 2011 by the then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the project stalled in 2012, was continued in 2016 as a private-sector smart city project and finally, in 2020, came to a standstill due to a lack of funding. In a conversation with Vera Tollmann, who curated the exhibition Sensing Scale at the Kunsthalle together with Merle Radtke, the artist talks about her film as well as the connections between nostalgia and utopia, the economic, political and historical entanglements around Anaklia and the mythologies that influenced the construction project and her film.

Tekla Aslanishvili (born in 1988) is an artist, filmmaker and essayist based in Berlin and Tbilisi. Her work investigates new forms of algorithmic control and their influence on urban spaces and subjects. After graduating from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, she received her MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) in experimental film / media art. Tekla Aslanishvili’s work has been exhibited or screened internationally at the Tbilisi Architecture Bienniale, the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Kunstverein Leipzig, Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, VISIO – European Programme on Artists’ Moving Images in Florence, the Pyon Lab in Dresden and the 20th International Bremen Symposium on Film. From 2018 to 2019 she was a Digital Earth Fellow, in 2020 she received the Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award as well as the Hamburg Short Film Special Mention Award and was nominated for the ars viva Prize in 2021.

Vera Tollmann (born 1976) studied cultural science and practical aesthetics in Hildesheim and cultural studies in Liverpool. In the noughties she worked as an editorial assistant for Springerin – Hefte für Gegenwartskunst in Vienna, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes in Halle and the media art festival transmediale. For the Goethe Institut she was involved in workshops in Addis Ababa and Tashkent, and also travelled to China as a travel fellow. From 2012 to 2013 she was a research assistant at the Moving Image Lab at Leuphana University and in 2014 co-curated Land Art Mongolia in Ulaan Baatar. Together with Boaz Levin and Hito Steyerl, she ran the Research Center for Proxy Politics at the Berlin University of the Arts from 2015 to 2017. From 2019 to 2021, she was a research associate at the Institute for Media, Theatre and Popular Culture, at the University of Hildesheim. In 2020, she received her doctorate from the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (HfbK). An edited version will be published by Spector Books in 2023. In 2021 she curated the exhibition Sensing Scale at Kunsthalle Münster together with Merle Radtke. Since 2021she has been a visiting researcher and lecturer at the Institute for the Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM) at Leuphana University.

For Mondays is a production by Kunsthalle Münster. Concept: Merle Radtke. Editing and coordination: Artefakt Kulturkonzepte, Jana Bernhardt and Merle Radtke. Production: Bela Brandes. Introduction: Arne Lenk. Graphic design: JMMP – Julian Mader and Max Prediger.

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Further Episodes:

For Mondays #5, Silke Wagner + Merle Radtke: münsters GESCHICHTE VON UNTEN

For Mondays #3, Adrian Williams: One Word

For Mondays #2, Michael Hagner + Merle Radtke: Gerhard Richter’s Installation Two Grey Double Mirrors for a Pendulum,

For Mondays #1, Gail Kirkpatrick + Merle Radtke: From Städtische Ausstellungshalle am Hawerkamp to Kunsthalle Münster