TAMADA: Selin Davasse, 13 September 2020
The three-day opening program, in collaboration with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, will revisit the Georgian rituals of the Tamada, inviting the artists Selin Davasse, Shalva Nikvashvili, and Ana Prvački to each hold court over the course of a day, on the 11th, 12th and 13th of September. The iconic character of the Tamada is well known for toast making, oratorical flourishes, and tolerance for alcohol. Typically, the Master or Mistress of Ceremony of a Georgian meal, the Tamada weaves memory, notions of nationhood, and hospitality into liquid libations. Pickle Bar invites each artist to reconsider these and more, through drink and discourse in an intimate setting suited for our fluid times. During the chamber drinking ritual, guests will be offered a selection of fermented drinks and bites, in addition to the sharp tongue of a Tamada guiding them through the afternoon and evening.
In her lecture-oratorio, Selin Davasse transposes the figure of the Tamada and the socio-political space of the Georgian meal to Berlin’s contemporary culture scene. Conventionally, the Tamada strives to flaunt his rhetorical virtuosity, not to convince or convert, but to reinforce beliefs he presumes to be already held by his audience. In lieu of the traditional ideals of country and family, Davasse’s Tamada presupposes her community’s valorization of plurality, solidarity and accountability. Mimicking but also menacing the masculinist tradition of toast-making, she salutes the sublimated homoeroticism inherent to male-celebratory events by replacing patriotic pathos with queer pride. Interpreting the Georgian meal as an academy where unofficial histories are represented and the Tamada as an agent of mythopoetic transmission, she raises her glass to knowledge that is sung, not archived.
Selin Davasse lives and works in Berlin. Her research-based performance practice repurposes disparate literary and performative techniques to engage with ethics and politics from alternative presents and speculative futures.
TAMADA is realised in collaboration with KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin.