The research project encompasses a series of experimental documentary short films as well as written analysis that examine the modern technologies of citizenship and sovereignty in the South Caucasus. These methods and processes are both conditioned by and in response to the development of large-scale connectivity and energy infrastructure projects in the region. The project's primary focus is on the joint initiative between the EU and Georgia to construct the world's longest high-voltage power grid under the Black Sea. Aimed at reducing dependence on Russia for global data and energy transmission, the cable is seen as a catalyst for reforming current energy geographies, especially within the context of ongoing regional wars and territorial conflicts. Sketched by the Rivers builds upon Tekla Aslanishvili's prior interdisciplinary collaborative work, which explored multiple regimes of infrastructural governance and the instrumentalization of port, railway, and smart city projects as bargaining chips in geopolitical negotiations. The forthcoming artistic research binds together fragmented histories of social, scientific, and technological restructuring of labor and life around the realm of energy politics. These personal and distant histories, linked with layers of myth and future geo-political orientations, provide a foundation for making sense of shifting power geographies. The project examines how material structures involved in energy production and transmission, are utilized and function as organizational tools within three interlinked areas: the production of knowledge, the making and unmaking of political and physical state borders and practices of statecraft.
Tekla Aslanishvili is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist based between Berlin and Tbilisi. She completed her studies at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2009 and holds an MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts in Experimental Film and New Media Art. Her experimental documentary films, texts, and installations emerge at the intersection of design, history, and geopolitics. They explore the shifting fault lines between governments, people, and their land through the lens of large-scale transit and energy infrastructure projects. Aslanishvili's films have been screened and exhibited internationally at Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition, Taipei; Taipei Biennial 2023; MCAD - Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; Wiels, Brussels; Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; New Visions - The Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media, Oslo; Transmediale 2023; Loop Festival / Antoni Tàpies Museum Barcelona; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; Neue Berliner Kunstverein; 14th Baltic Triennial; Tbilisi Architecture Biennial; Videonale 18; Short Film Festival Oberhausen; Kunsthalle Münster; EMAF - European Media Art Festival. Tekla is a 2018-2019 Digital Earth fellow, the nominee for the Ars Viva Art prize 2021, and the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation - Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award 2020. Currently, she is a postgraduate fellow at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences at the Berlin University of the Arts.