We agreed that Tbilisi food – on all levels – was great!

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Tbilisi food is great.

Mushroom soup is especially great in Tbilisi.

While praising Tbilisi soups during a meeting, Corina brought up the Stone Soup story. It is a story about a traveler who gets people of a village to put together a bit of something each and make food for the entire village. It seemed like it is a pretty international story.

We realized this was actually our story. During our stay in Tbilisi we were all putting together bits of ideas we had and cooked soup for all of us. We shared our recipes.

One day we found out how you can turn a former hospital into an art centre in Tbilisi.

Another day we found out how independent curating works in Yerevan.

Yet another day we found out how cultural strategies are written in Slovenia.

Then we sat down and talked. And ate. And talked some more.

We realized we have been all cooking from what we had around – essentially bits and leftovers.

We put together our experiences, our working methods, our relationships with the scene, audience, sponsors and auhorities. We collected recipes with interventions in public space.

We collected recipes with artists working with curators working with local authorities.

Essentially these were all recipees WITH. With blue paint. With a crazy mayor. With an empty building. We almost came to decide we should publish a cook book for artists and cultural producers on this.

Then suddenly we realized we had another type of recipes. This was the WITHOUT recipes. How do you cook your art or your cultural project when you don’t have a space? Without authorizations? Without A1 posters in the city? Without money? There was material for an even bigger cook book in this. We called it the Recipes Without Cook book.

Then we ate. And then we talked some more.

We decided we need to turn our ideas into action. We set up our common residence programme to test our cross-border cooking skills. It was a Georgian, an Armenian and a Slovenian artist coming to Romania. Then vice-versa.

Then others, too. Then we ate and talked some more. And then some more. Then hugged each other and left for the airport. We agreed that Tbilisi food – at all levels – was great.

István Szakáts

The report was written after 4 intensive days of the Tbilisi Caravan meeting which took place from 7th – 10th April 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia in the frame of the Caucasus-Balkan Express project.

Caucasus-Balkan Express project is initiated by the AltArt Foundation, Cluj and Balkan Express Network, Ljubljana, in partnership with Public Art Platform and Bouillon Group, Tbilisi, and ICA, Yerevan.
With the financial support of the Black Sea Trust – A Project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, The European Union – Culture Programme and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

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