↳ Scenes from Trial and Error

Tekla Aslanishvili on “Scenes from Trial and Error”

Hello. I’m Tekla Aslanishvili and I’m presenting my experimental documentary film “Scenes from trial and error“.

The film follows the test of developing a port and a smart city in a small fishing village on the Black Sea shores. Visually it revolves around this territory in Georgian republic, which I have accidentally discovered a couple of years ago. At first it was not quite clear what I was looking at.

The place looked like a city and embryo composed of composed of three main pillars: a sculpture, a municipal building and a bit of a road that connected this two constructions. Later I turned back to it because I saw the potential in the seeming insignificance of this place. I started developing a work on a asthetics and operational logics of smart city infrastructures around this urban triangle, which would serve as a metaphor in the film. Once I started filming, the second trial of the city development was announced. So I ended up following this process for the next two years, to its ultimate failure. There are several decisions that I had made already before starting to film on site. Abstaining from directing my camera people who are stripped of their voices was one of such working principles. Instead, I was interested in finding the non-human forms through which the present conditions of anticipation and certainty and ambition could shine through. The architectural form in the film serves as one of such mediums. The municipality building, for instance, is a structure that is very ambitious in its form, and it communicates the ideas of total flexibility and adaptability. It simulates the random composition of architectural forms by fixing them in the air. So in a way it is a sculpture of the dominant future imaginary, the one that escapes endings through its seeming ability of mutation. But through its ruination, the structure also points towards the endings and failures that accompany such technological urban fantasies.

My approach to structuring the narrative of „Scenes from trial and error“ was to detach it from the site of filming because initially I was interested in a replicable model of smart infrastructure which is completely different to the local social and cultural specificities and can be planted everywhere around the globe. And in order to look through this contemporary form of world making, I’ve decided to follow the same logic of zooming out by featuring narrations, which are mainly disconnected from the local context. But at the same time, when I started to film on site, I very soon realised that the place itself and its passive form of existence was radiating a certain mood that communicated something entirely different from what was being said. So in the film you have four main protagonists talking about the same space. A never failing futuristic smart city from different temporal, geographic and professional perspectives. But its narratives flow with and against the images of existence from the territory. And the subtile tension and mismatch between the multiple linguistic descriptions and the scenes from the place is what the montage is built on.

Thanks a lot for watching.