Lado Darakhvelidze (b. 1977, Kutaisi)
Set to give shape to his live interventions during the celebration of the AFEW Culture Initiative's public events in the lead up to and at the International 2018 AIDS Conference (23-27 July 2018), Lado questions the problematics of knowledge distribution and popular mythologies surrounding HIV/AIDS in the Caucasus and beyond.
Biography and General Background
Lado Darakhvelidze is a Georgian artist based in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
His work has been showcased as part of the 11th Istanbul Biennial of Art 'What Keeps Mankind Alive' (2009), Linz's Biennale Cuvée (2010), the Netherlands-based Artist Pension Trust (2012), New York City's CEC Artslink 'One Big City' (2013) as well as the 10th edition of the MANIFESTA Biennial of Contemporary Art in Saint Petersburg Russia.
For the latter, his renowned project Transformers St. Petersburg (2014) deals with urban informality as it is expressed in local Russian city markets. In it, he dissects the remaining layers of Soviet multiculturalism and ethnic diversity, their modes of self-management, resourcefulness and originality. In Lado's perspective, the sheer collective energy generated by local markets is comparable to that of public assemblies, where Georgians, Armenians, Azeris, Ossetians, Abkhazis and other ethnic minorities work side by side. Against the backdrop of a widespread skepticism towards organised protest, the migrant workers' inclinations towards collectivism self-organisation might be seen as revolutionary.
Artistic Motivations and Interests
Lado's artistic focus revolves mostly around information media, its limitations and socio-political impact(s) on personal narratives in post-Soviet societies. In particular, Lado subtly reflects on the transitions and relocations of national symbols following the collapse of communism, expanding the political to encompass mythology, history lessons and storytelling.
AFEW Culture Initiative Collaboration Statement
Darakhvelidze's The Blackboard Lessons Project/The Walking History Corridor seeks to address the problematics of knowledge distribution in the domain of HIV/AIDS, with a specific focus on the Caucasian region.
The starting premise of Lado’s project for the AFEW Culture Initiative are the (questionable) ways in which history is taught in schools; the educational system being a crucial site where our understanding and visions of the world, as well as our place in it, are formed.
For him, this realisation stemmed from his own explorations of history books, both old and new, having become increasingly aware of how different nations and interest groups portray the same key events in past and recent history in radically contrasting ways.
As we redirect our attention onto global public health issues, and looking particularly at information distributed around HIV/AIDS and related subjects, a similar issue emerges.
In Lado’s experience, brochures, leaflets and school history lessons, among others, are in and of themselves a site for the politicisation of HIV/AIDS, whether in ‘East’ or ‘West’. These outlets for the transmission of information thus become a metaphor of how institutional apparatuses and individual lobby groups reformulate scientific facts and knowledge to their own advantage.
Lado's interactive intervention at the time of the International 2018 AIDS Conference (23-27 July 2018) will encourage visitors to challenge the status quo or current discourses on HIV/AIDS and share their own messages and 'knowledge' on the matter. It is envisaged as an attempt at 'democratising' the flow of information on highly complex phenomena that have a tangible impact on the lives of those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.