Sunday, February 17, 2008

Georgian Table Traditions

Progressive Nostaligia
Curated by Victor Misiano

Centro per l'arte contemporanea
Luigi Pecci-Prato
May 2007


‘Do you want to know where the Georgian man reveals himself in his entire splendor?
This is the Georgian Table! If you are invited to one of those parties try not to miss one as it is supposed to be a real performance put up by the toast-master, or the Tamada. Tamada acts like a director of the party announcing traditional toasts to peace, health, happiness, well-being, beautiful women, love, etc. etc. High-flown and magic words seem to help him to establish contact with Heaven….’

Here are some of the unwritten rules for Tamada:

Sense of Humor

Entertainment is what all is about. Constantly look for material to expand your repertoire of dramatic material, jokes, legends, poetry, episodes from epics, drama or literature.


Determine who the most important guests are. Toast them first. At weddings toast the fathers of the bride and groom first, then the mothers and then the newlyweds. Speak about both fathers together. That goes for the mothers too.


Toast is really a dramatic art form. Don’t rush. You have all afternoon or evening three or four ours. Take at least five, ten or more minutes for each toast. With a bit of ingenuity, even ordinary people can be verbally painted into portraits of heroes and heroines, princes and princesses, and even social redeems of the world.

Women in the Kitchen

Never forget the women in the kitchen who have dedicated themselves to making this party a success-especially when it comes to preparing the food. Make sure the granny, aunties, moms and sisters are invited into the presence of the guests and toasted. Honor their efforts. Praise the meal and the conclusion of the toast, tag on the traditional saying: ‘May we never lack your guidance and care’ or ‘May your hands and arms always be healthy.’

More on

Here you can read and edit your own speeches

Example for the toast ‘Don’t let Credit Cards Rule Your Life’

Satellite Tunes
Art from the Post-Soviet States
10.01.2008. – 30.01.2008.
Venue: Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest, Andrássy

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Maiden – Divorced – Spinster

In collaboration with WOMEN'S FUND IN GEORGIA

National Library, Tbilisi, Georgia, March 2007

Performance, dealing with gender issues in Georgian society.

The understanding of a human body is very limited. After being so long under the totalitarian regime and now during the nationalistic period there is a very strong one way thinking in Georgia. There is a lack of various possibilities to perceive and analyze things. We have created an abstract ‘human mentality’ which is producing diverse fragmented bodies, deconstructing the totalitarian understanding of human body as a simply functioning mechanism. On the other hand this ‘human mentality’ is producing heavy, flat stereotypes of women, throwing them out of a whole on the floor, in form of a wood pieces, covered with slogans written on the textile.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

• “Alternative Guide to Georgia and Caucasus”

Caucasus Biennale, Tbilisi, Georgia, October 2006

This was a presentation/performance were we spoke about the changes that occurred recently in Georgia and Caucasus region and some of which according to us have not taken good direction. We presented videos with absurd toasting situations, small golden fountain souvenirs that are being built in large quantities lately,

touched upon the nationalistic feelings that are being awaken etc. The performance had a shape
of the small market stand, where at the end of the performance goods that were presented during the performance were displayed for sale.

Another City, Another Life
9th April – 17th August 2008
Zachęta Mały Salon and public space of Warsaw

• “Caucasus Game”

Festival Est-Ouest, Die, France, September 2006

This festival was organized by city of Die in south of France to show the culture from Caucasus. Writers, translators, visual artists, performers and musicians were invited to present their region. We presented “Caucasian Game” for this festival - it was a memory game that used real people instead of cards. Twelve people were asked to participate; two Georgian, two Armenian and two Azeri men and women had a map of Caucasus attached to their backs and nationality tags attached tot heir front. (French) people playing the game were given the choice to pick two they wanted to turn to show their fronts, therefore identity. Person choosing nationality match was a winner and got the DVD that we produced especially for this occasion.
This DVD is an alternative travel guide through Georgia.

• “I was silent”

ACCEA (Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art), Yerevan, Armenia, August 2006,

This performance was part of the project “Art without borders” organized by ACCEA. We presented a show based on the personal letters and a video, showing a trip to Baku. Given the fact that Azerbaijan did not participate into the project the main purpose of which was to open the borders in the region we made some critical comments through our performance. In this performance we put in some politically incorrect sentences, jokes and stereotypes that circulate the Caucasus. We strongly believe that without the discussions and bringing tabooed themes to the light, things cannot change in this region. Important changes have to happen in culture as well as elsewhere because nothing worthwhile can be crated or produced unless people in the region start thinking beyond their little borders.

• “Roof performance”

Tbilisi’s urban neighborhood, Tbilisi, Georgia, June 2006
Collaboration with two visual artists Tamuna Chabashvili and Baia Sikharulidze

This 20 minute performance dealt with the reality and made up reality, or rather reality imposed on us.
During the performance, texts were read from the Georgian Cosmopolitan magazine listing down tips about how to make your body seem more desirable, more beautiful, how high heels can make you look better or how to judge men’s sexual potential according to his mobile telephone.
The billboard stating “Georgians, forwards to the King Agmashenebelis Georgia!” refers to an absurd wish of a Georgian society to reverse development of our country to the past, the performance demonstrated that reality can be much more absurd then art.

' Georgians! Let's move forward to Agmashenebeli King! ' - this phrase was written on one of the bill boards on the high way. It reflects very well political processes in Georgia, we have an aim to move forward to west, but in the same time we have nationalistic nostalgia of the 12th century, when Georgian Kingdom was influential in Caucasian region. We want to build democracy, but we need a strong leader, who will take responsibility and bring country to the prosperity, when we meanwhile can happily stay in the fairytale world.

Another City, Another Life
9th April – 17th August 2008
Zachęta Mały Salon and public space of Warsaw

• “What do Georgian women do in Istanbul”

Apartment Projects, Istanbul, Turkey, April 2006

This 20-minute performance dealt with the prejudice about the Georgian prostitution and salespeople that do business in Turkey. Here we play with the themes like crossing the Georgian-Turkish border, things we see at the border, luggage and passport control and of course the far stretched look towards Western lifestyle, wealth and well-being that hide behind the horizon.