The Creeping Alienation of Tbilisi: Tatia Kinkladze Captures Urban Spaces & Contaminated Landscapes


My interest for urban photography has been nurtured by Jane Jacobs’ inspiring book The Death and Life of Great American Cities and by the realization that we do live in an environment that fosters social alienation. By taking a closer look at urban spaces around us, I realized that the city’s public spaces tend to become lifeless and functionless, thus nourishing our desire to escape into a ‘dream city’.

Modern cities are extremely urbanized. Urban development is increasingly coupled with population growth but also ecological problems. As a result, we see modern constructions and multi-dwelling buildings in the city center coexist with a still widespread Soviet architecture in suburban areas. My photos capture urban spaces and contaminated landscapes, thus vividly expressing a need for a different city planning.

Throughout the last year, I’ve been going through a sort of self-awareness process and photography has become a free space for me that allowed me to see the world from a different perspective.

What I have learned about Tbilisi is that urban challenges which are more and more appearing on the surface because of new constructions, clearly demonstrating political nature of the problem. In order to avoid urban catastrophe and the city become viable, it is crucial that the government elaborate relevant approaches in order to overcome these problems. The politics require equal distribution of the resources.

In Tbilisi, construction of multiple dwellings is actively processing. City Hall quite easily gives permission to construction companies to build them in the city center and recreational zones. The construction process takes place without a plan and what we will get is an ugly cityscape. Constructions like the Biltmore are fundamentally transforming the character of the city. Without construction a plan, we are unable to imagine what the city will look like after some years. Construction of the buildings is an ongoing process in suburbs as well, for example, at Tbilisi Sea territory. While walking in the streets, I often feel that day after day, breathing becomes more difficult.

The process of solving the problems involves different components such as legal regulations, cleaning and etc, but the main challenge is the political will of the government, without which I find it impossible to overcome these obstacles.