IKI ( 2012 – 2016)

IKI is a project connected to ‘‘Eliava’’ – industrial market in the center of Tbilisi (Georgia)
IKI consists of several projects in various mediums: zines,
silkscreen prints, posters, clothing design, video, Lecture/performance.

About Eliava
The market in Eliava is a space, where you can find everything connected to machines, among other items. Championing the proletariat class, the Soviet Union greatly influenced Georgian handymen’s terminology, so even today workers there keep using Russian terms in their speech and shop signage. While walking in this area you will witness signboards full of Russian barbarisms, many written in Georgian letters.

2012 – ’’Eliava Terminology Guide’’
‘’Eliava Terminology Guide’’ is an illustrated dictionary about car parts. It aims to encourage people to reconsider the implications of Russian words they still use on a daily basis. My motivation for doing this project was to enhance the mood of the car mechanics who work in Tbilisi’s Eliava market by communicating with them about tangible and intangible dynamics within their work environment. We wanted to investigate the subtle yet powerful role language plays in shaping their identities. The market’s workers became the co-designers and co-authors of our dictionary. The graphic design of the ‘’Eliava Terminology Guide’’ was inspired by the mechanic’s drawings and the calligraphy on their shops’ signs.

2014 – The photo documentation of the above-mentioned project ‘‘for Eliava Terminology Guide’’ shows how local workers, the handyman at the Eliava market were designing their Blocks, looking for forms of their own stylization of Georgian letters to make signage interactive, attractive, and easily understandable. These signboards are taken down as time passes and are replaced by homogeneous looking printed banners.

2016 -‘’IKI’’ is about Georgian-Russian industrial slang and it’s visual, social-cultural narratives. It explores how the language itself has the ability to operate as a martial art using fluidity, adaptivity, transformation for survival. In this project, I draw a parallel between ‘’IKI – Linguistic martial art’’, as I call it, and the Creole language – described by Edouard Glissant in ‘’Poetics of relation’’.


IKI installation (‘‘for Eliava Terminology Guide’’ photo zine and A3 screenprints). Exhibition “Grüße aus Georgien” curated by Sophia Tabatadze at Kunstpunkt Berlin, 2019
IKI – linguistic martial art based on Georgian industrial slang. Lecture/performance. Duration 10 min.
Exhibition ‘‘Welt ohne Außen’’ at Martin Gropius Bau. Berlin 2018
IKI – linguistic martial art based on Georgian industrial slang. Lecture/performance (duration 10 min) at Mutterzunge, Babylon. Berlin 2018

IKI screenprints on paper, A3 size.
IKI screen print on silk
model: Magdalena Mitterhofer
Stills from IKI video for the lecture performance