The second CORNERS Xpedition, Caucasus 27 September- 13 October 2011, is organised by Intercult.
The Caucasus Xpedition visits the south eastern corner of Europe. We set off in Turkey, a secular Muslim country, travel through Georgia, a secular orthodox Christian country, and then cross the boarder to Azerbaijan which has similarities to Turkey both in religion and language. There is another story, shared by Azerbaijan and Georgia, of being post Soviet countries. The traces of Soviet culture are interfaced with new realities of independent countries, developing their own interesting mixture of East and West.
Both nations are rich with cultural and demographic diversity, and the enclaves, autonomous regions and break-away republics such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia within and outside their borders underline the ethnic, religious, cultural and political complexities of the South Caucasus region.
The social political situations of these three countries will be explored as we travel through different realities. In Tskaltubo (Georgia) we will meet Georgian refugees from Abkhazia, who live in a massive Hot spring SPA complex once built for both Soviet’s workers and political elite. During the 20 years of independence, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the region has faced several conflicts.
Artists and independent cultural organisations will be our cicerones. They will guide us through the cultural landscape, as we visit both capitals, Tbilisi (Georgia) and Baku (Azerbaijan), and a number of smaller regional towns and villages like Hopa (Turkey), Chiatura, Telavi (Georgia), Sheki Agsu and Ciyni (Azerbaijan).
What is life like in this region, these countries, the towns and villages? Do every day issues span an East-West dimension? Is it all about Russia’s influence from the North? What are the relations to the separatists? How do citizens interact with their Government? Is it a social political story that mark peoples’ lives? Or are there other narratives and traditions that shape aspirations and every day life?
The Turkish border town of Hopa, was visited during 2010 by Intercult’s Black/North SEAS project during the SEAS Xpedition (SEAS X). The SEAS X event on the northern coast of Turkey and in Batumi were the prototype for the CORNERS R&D project.