On 17 May 2013, the international day against homophobia, a peaceful LGBT demonstration of approximately 40 people was brutally attacked in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Over 15,000 religious extremists and Christian-orthodox priests attacked the minibuses where the attacked demonstrators had fled. After the demonstrations of the previous year, this was only the second time in the history of the Christian-orthodox influenced Georgia that homo-, bi-, and transsexual people, as well as their supporters, had even taken to the street for their rights, equality, and acceptance. Until 2017 it was also the last time in this form, as further large demonstrations were avoided due to the brutal attacks four years prior. However, the LGBT movement can’t be kept down and makes signs of protest every year against discrimination and for equality. Until today, no one has been held legally accountable for the escalation in 2013.
The Georgian artist Soso Dumbadze reconstructs the experience with found footage from the internet. He selected a total of 15 video sources of the demonstration, which journalists, demonstrators, and assailants had taken with their cameras and smartphones and put on the internet. In his video installation, the artist structures the 15 screens so that they illustrate the local spatial conditions. Dumbadze traces the course of the street through the position of the people filming and in doing so conveys different narratives and perspectives on the events. The demonstrators should be evacuated with buses. The most impressive recording was taken from inside a yellow bus: even though the demonstrator had fled, he is still exposed to violence: fists and hands beat against the glass, yelling mouths can be seen. It’s not only the filmed scenes that created a feeling of menace. The installation itself also contributes to a feeling of anxiety with its fifteen dark tightly-packed human-scaled steles, in which the videos are embedded. And it helps to not consider values such as the equality of all people irrespective of their origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation as a given, but rather as something that must be fought for over and over again.
Soso Dumbadze lebt und arbeitet in Köln und Tbilissi, Georgien, wo er auch geboren wurde. 1998-2001 studierte er Film- und Fernsehregie an der Staatlichen Universität Tbilissi sowie von 2004-2011 Film und Medienkunst an der Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln. Zur Zeit promoviert er an der Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg zur sowjetischen Filmavantgarde und dem politischen Essayfilm mit einem Stipendium der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Seine Videoinstallationen wurden u.a. auf der Art Cologne, in der Bundeskunsthalle Bonn und im Haus am Lützowplatz Berlin gezeigt. Dumbadze leitet in Tbilissi den Verlag »Sa.Ga.« (Abkürzung für »sazogadoebrivi gamomtsemloba«, z. Dt. »Verlag für die Gesellschaft«), welcher sich gesellschaftskritischen und politischen Inhalten widmet. Im Verlag sind die Erstübersetzungen der Autoren Walter Benjamin und Theodor W. Adorno, Sergej Eisenstein und Dziga Vertov, sowie Harun Farocki und Chris Marker u. a. erschienen.