A State in a State is an experimental documentary film that follows the construction, disruption, and fragmentation of railroads in the South Caucasus and Caspian regions. It examines railways as the technical materialization of the fragile political borders that have re-emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Revolving around the scenes of delay and waiting that constitute cargo mobility, the film reads the optimistic narratives about the New Silk Road against the grain. It observes how the iron foundation of connectivity can be used as a weapon of exclusion and geopolitical sabotage. Dotting the same lines, other forms of sabotage are deployed by workers to disrupt the political violence. Looking at historic and current practices of resistance, A State in a State explores the potential of railroads for building a different infrastructural consciousness and the lasting, transnational kinship among the people who live and work around them.
dir. Tekla Aslanishvili, developed in artistic-scientific collaboration with Dr. Evelina Gambino, 2022
is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist based between Berlin and Tbilisi. She completed her studies at the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2009 and holds an MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts in Experimental Film and New Media Art. Her experimental documentary films, texts, and installations emerge at the intersection of design, history, and geopolitics. They explore the shifting fault lines between governments, people, and their land through the lens of large-scale transit and energy infrastructure projects. Tekla is a 2018–2019 Digital Earth fellow, the nominee for Ars- Viva Art prize 2021 and the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award 2020. Currently, she is a postgraduate fellow at the Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences at the Berlin University of the Arts.
Evelina Gambino is Margaret Tyler Research Fellow in Geography and College Lecturer at Girton College, University of Cambridge. Her research is concerned with a situated analysis of global logistics. Her PhD thesis explored through an ethnographic approach the temporalities attached to the making and failure of the Port of Anaklia in West Georgia exposing the labour necessary to sustain its promise of prosperity. Evelina’s work has appeared in journals and online publications within and beyond academia, she is currently completing a monograph that proposes a feminist approach to the study of infrastructural failure.