Tbilisi architecture biennial

Current edition

Topic

The second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial is conceived under the name ‘What Do  We Have in Common.’ We propose to take a closer look at the notion of commonness in our increasingly individualized and fragmented societies, by investigating its definition and translating it into our urban fabric.


After the Soviet Union's dramatic collapse, several barely recognized countries were added to the world map. These newly born “post-socialist” states had to undergo an inevitable but painful transformation from planned to market economy - an economic transition that has been expressed in both the city's cultural norms and its urban fabric.


A ‘collectively’ organized society became increasingly individualized, and its planned urban spaces transformed into more fragmented and divided ones. Entire processes of urban and socio-economic transition seemed to forget the feeling of common space and its collectivity. Spaces of common inhabitation and collective use have become mostly infrastructural, turning into locations of transition and uninterrupted functionality.


The notion of commons unites open resources of any kind: natural, cultural, spatial, material and immaterial - of which ownership and access are shared. But commons also mean a collection of practices that govern and maintain these resources and must be preserved as such. Commons must be reclaimed as finite resources that need to be sustained, nurtured and managed by communities and professionals. Georgia's rapid shift to a neoliberal political system in the 1990s resulted in a new understanding of these commons - resources that opened up for commodification and individualization.


The architects, urbanists, and state institutions play a fundamental role in maintaining the spatial commons, and no more so than in Tbilisi.


In our local reality, the post-soviet spatial, political and social transformation has been accompanied by many new understandings and new urban vocabulary. The understanding of common space developed into a very complex issue. By questioning the notion of the ‘common’ we would like to address several layers of urban spaces in Tbilisi and explore the internal and external, material and imaginary by examining the significance of the transformation process and the consequences it has had on common spaces.


The staircases, neighborhood patios, thresholds, roofs of the residential blocks, public parks and squares, rarely or unused public/private buildings, shared self-governed open spaces - they all belong to the beginnings of a ‘common’ urban vocabulary that we attempt to enrich, study and research at multiple levels, through an understanding of ownership structures, the political consequences of “common” space transformations, everyday spatial common practices, the spaces of resistance and much more.

Meanwile - Covid 19

While working on the second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial by questioning “what do we have in common?” to our surprise, answers were found much sooner. With the sudden shifts in our lives that happened due to the ongoing pandemic, it became clear that there are many more things we actually have in common. On the other hand, it is important to note that the pandemic exposes and intensifies existing inequalities in the world.


We closely observe the ongoing situation globally and try to revise and reinvent our original plans. Considering the importance of physical distancing, restrictions on travel and public gatherings, we have redeveloped the concept to move most of the elements of the event to a digital format.


The reinvented Biennial aims at becoming a voice which can be spread even further in order to reach out to more people globally. This way, the event will transform itself into a “Common Architecture Biennial”, which emerged from Tbilisi but tries to propagate the concept of “togetherness” far beyond the borders of Tbilisi and Georgia.


The second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial will take place during the months of October and November 2020.

Location - virtual space

Based on the recent decision of our team, the second edition of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial will be carried out in a digital space where the website will become the event's main platform. It will incorporate various media to support diverse formats of events.


The Biennial shift to the online mode will ensure a wider outreach and participation on a global scale. It will become a transcontinental event and activate different places worldwide, spilling its activities beyond Tbilisi's original location.


In parallel to being able to avoid the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the digital platform will open up many more possibilities and introduce new space for creativity that can apply different tools of implementation of the ideas. Biennial as a platform and specifically its website will transform into space, which will bring together all works, discussions, and ideas that emerge during the event under one roof.

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