Polka Dot Tea Cup from Lamara, "Georgia" Sanatorium, Tsqaltubo, 2014

Georgia Toasting Bowl from Soso, 9 April Street 54, Tsqaltubo, 2014

Wooden Wine Cups from Vakhtangi, 9 April Street 6, Tsqaltubo, 2014

Wings and Anchor Trinket from Nino, 2 Lortkipanidze Street, Tsqaltubo, 2014

Handmade Seashell Basket from Tea, Gogebashvili 2a, Tsqaltubo, 2014

Heart and Slipper Bracelet from Khatia, "Tibilisi" Sanatorium, Tsqaltubo, 2014

THE TRADING THREAD, Tsqaltubo Art Festival, Tsqaltubo, 2014

THE TRADING THREAD, Tsqaltubo Art Festival, Tsqaltubo, 2014

THE TRADING THREAD, "Connecting Spaces", Klingental, Basel, 2014

Artists Philip Matesic, Linda Pfenninger and translator Lana Chakhaia present THE TRADING THREAD. Over a period of three days, during the Tsqaltubo Art Festival in September 2014, the artists and translator traveled door-to-door trading personal objects and their related stories from residents of Tsqaltubo, Georgia with other residents of the city.

Pfenninger and Matesic chose a specific object from Switzerland to start the trading thread. The trading of the objects was done without the other knowing what they were going to receive. They first had to decide if they wanted to trade and if yes, find something to trade. Then the artists presented the object they brought to trade from another resident, along with the story of where and who the object came from.

They traded consistently, back and forth, between both the local and refugee communities establishing a thread of exchange. The local refugee community has been living in Tsqaltubo since the Abkhazian war in 1993. The refugees reside in many of the formerly operating sanatoriums, where the famous “healing water” of Tsqaltubo was used to treat citizens of the former Soviet Union. People with similar yet very different backgrounds were connected through this assisted exchange of objects and their stories by Pfenninger and Matesic.

A photograph of the person trading, together with both objects of exchange were taken during each trade. During the exchanges, the artists and translator wrote down the related stories. These stories were then displayed next to the corresponding photographs in the exhibition. Also displayed was a large map of Tsqaltubo where a red thread connected visually the separate sites (apartments, houses and sanatoriums) where the trades took place. "The Trading Thread" concluded at the end of the third day of the festival with fifteen total trades. The final object traded, a "Cross Shaped Wine Cup", was also displayed in the exhibition then taken home by the artists.

Tsqaltubo, Georgia, 2014