Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Exhibition story.

So here is my story that will be split up into miniature books for the Journey of Exchange exhibition.

Tbilisi, Georgia.

The car twisted us high speed into the city I’d dreamt of since small. I’d never arrived here this way in my head – there I kind of drifted across ruined balconies and landed on one to gaze out over all the others as they spun along the water’s edge like wooden cobwebs.
We got out by an old bridge and watched the cars trying to keep the people on foot from passing through. It didn’t work though – people just walked across in front of the speeding traffic and it miraculously missed them in a mist of hooting horns. We got out and said goodbye to the guy who’d driven us here. Paid him back his border bribes and sat on a small wall by a new flash bar, as the city crumbled around us and a bride walked out of the bar to family cheers. It was easy to not notice this place was falling down it was so beautiful. That hadn’t changed from my preconceptions. I was finally stood amongst the buildings I’d stared at in books as a child.
The windows hung from the balconies like square bunches of glass grapes. I felt that if I raised my hand I could pick them they were so frail – that they might crumble in pieces into my fingers and I could filter through the dust to find the stories that this city was hiding from me. It was hiding something still.
I dragged my suitcase into a taxi up the steep hill to the hotel. Up some stairs and onto our new balcony that seemed to taunt the old ones with how well it stayed up. I hardly noticed though – was floating above a view I had seen many times before. The old Metekhi church rising out of the city and the trees around the hills that tried to hide the buildings. The domes of the sulphur baths burst like bubbles from the cobbled ground.
He turned and smiled at me and we sat on the swing seat and rocked gently, up a little higher to see if we could peer over the hilltops where Mother Georgia stood with her sword and stared in stone at the tall spike of the communications tower. Its red and white stripes reminded me of seaside life rings, and a giant Soviet shell of a building hovered next to it, staring over the city with no purpose other than that, or to remind people that it was still there, somewhere in the background of this changing city. There were many different histories struggling to be remembered here. I never thought that our history would join them. Hovering happily through the broken wood and pastel painted stone. I smiled and walked back inside the room.