Industrial Pedagogical Technicum
THE INDUSTRIAL TECHNICUM EXHIBITION
The Industrial Technicum Exhibition is a part of the INHABIT! post-Soviet Tbilisi project, which speaks to the contemporary Georgian context through issues of minority integration, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) rights, spatial politics, cultural heritage preservation, Georgian cultural identity, Soviet autocracy, and the ideologies which manifested this multifarious reality.
The goal of the project is to make the Technicum Auditorium building a valued public space which serves the IDP community living on the Technicum territory, and houses the activities that further integrate them into the life of the city. The first step, after endless battles with the Georgian Ministry of Economy, was to build a staircase to make the terrace of the Auditorium accessible to the public.
The creation of the staircase resulted in the activation of the space: the children from the building immediately appropriated the terrace as their new playground. Since the inaugural exhibition, connections have been established between the urban community and the minority community in the Technicum. The children living in the building have new role models and teachers from the local universities There was a continuation of construction in and of the space following the Architecture Biennial. By allowing accessibility and catalyzing the effort, we have demonstrated a methodology for the appropriation and production of space that is social and public.
In April of 2019, we have conducted a census with over 100 of the approximately 150 IDP families living in the former Industrial Technicum campus. From that, we are assessing needs, and attempting to build a resilient community bond between the members of the community and the city.
Our immediate prospects are to create a community center and continue experimental educational programs in the building, co-taught by residents. If a space is to be truly public, it should be shaped by the public.
Accessibility, Reflection, Intimacy, Extimacy.
The staircase, as an object, explored the similarities between the Shida Kartli and Abkhazian vernacular architecture, respond to its context, and investigate public intimacy.
Thomas Ibrahim, Givi Machavariani and Claudio Vekstein.
Archives, Context, Place.
What is the pervasive attitude towards communist art and architecture in the 21st Century, and what are the reasons behind the neoliberal transformations which have taken control of post-Socialist republics? What dimensions are preventing the Industrial Technicum and similar territories from developing, and what steps must be taken to remedy the remaining ethnic tensions? What steps should be taken to acknowledge, value, and transform 20th Century architecture for contemporary use in Tbilisi?
Photography: © Angus Leadley Brown, Claudio Vekstein, Thomas Ibrahim