Wiels | EN

Tekla Aslanishvili: A State in a State

22 09 2023 29 10 2023

WIELS Auditorium

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 reemerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Film starts every hour
Free entry
Duration: 47 min

ASIAS Still 10

Tekla Aslanishvili, Video still from 'A State in a State', 2022. Courtesy of Han Nefkens Foundation.

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.

This screening marks an ongoing series of collaborations between the Han Nefkens Foundation and WIELS, bringing together their resources and expertise to support and present ambitious audio-visual work from around the world.


A State in a State, Tekla Aslanishvili, 2022, 47min., Georgian, Russian and English Spoken

English Subtitles   

The film is developed in artistic-scientific collaboration with Dr. Evelina Gambino, Margaret Tyler Research Fellow in Geography at Girton College, University of Cambridge.  

Research & Script: Tekla Aslanishvili / Evelina Gambino
Music: Ani Zakareishvili / Nika Pasuri
Cinematography: Nikoloz Tabukashvili / Tekla Aslanishvili
Typography: Dato Simonia
Editing: Tekla Aslanishvili
Field recordings: Viktor Bone
Sound mastering: Irakli Shonia
Colour: Sally Shamas

Produced by The Han Nefkens Foundation, Barcelona

With the support of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; WIELS, Brussels; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila and Art Jameel, Dubai.  Additional support: Berlin Senate for Culture and Europe



Tekla Aslanishvili (b. 1988, GE) is an artist, filmmaker and essayist based between Berlin and Tbilisi. Her works emerge at the intersection of infrastructural design, history and geopolitics. She graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2009 and holds a MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts - department of Experimental Film and New Media Art. Aslanishvili's films have been screened and exhibited internationally at Eye Filmmuseum / MACA Amsterdam; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; New Visions - The Henie Onstad Triennial for Photography and New Media, Oslo; Transmediale 2023, Berlin; Loop Festival / Antoni Tàpies museum, Barcelona; Neue Berliner Kunstverein; Baltic Triennial 14, Vilnius; Short Film Festival Oberhausen; Kunsthalle Münster; EMAF - European Media Art Festival; Videonale 18; Tbilisi Architecture Biennial. She 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.