A dear colleague and friend, Mariam Megvine, approached me this fall to contribute to De:Nostalgia, a platform for professional women to write about their dreams—and frustrations—of working in Georgia.
Mariam was exceptionally busy during the lockdown in Tbilisi: not only did she instigate, fundraise, edit, and publish De:Nostalgia, she also lead the launch of a new theater company in Tbilisi, Haraki and built a new theater in Tbilisi.
My essay, “A Ruderal Practice” describes how our studio operates in a context of hyper-development that aims to integrate Georgia to the west—in terms of culture—and to the east, through massive infrastructure projects.
The powerful force of nostalgia is a barrier to actual care and imagination about the complex and compelling Georgian landscape. Nature, as depicted in cultural expressions, is an inexhaustible resource that can be called up in song, text, or image; meanwhile, the unregulated and rapid development of tourist areas, suburbs, and byways physically consumes, erases, and transforms the landscape subject.
I describe several “landscape projects of the future” projects in the essay, including “Intersecting Alazani”, a series of constructed garden transects; the Arsenal Oasis; the Kukushka Biennial, an ecological arts festival that follows the Borjomi-Bakuriani narrow gauge railroad, and Arboreta Caucasica, our ongoing research on integrating Caucasian endemic species in landscape architecture.
You can purchase De:Nostalgia online or at Postadakona Books in Tbilisi.