Komnen
ABOUT
WRITING

_ About


       My name is Mariam Darchiashvili, I am a Georgian Graphic Designer, based in The Netherlands, with interest in print-making, editorial design and curatorial work. Currently studying at The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) I am open for collaborative projects, freelance work and new interesting ideas, unexpected topics or alliances.  
        With a special interest in mythological and historical narratives, inspiration for my work is deeply rooted in the past and naive; antiquity, renaissance and philosophy. I firmly believe in the beneficial power of dark colours and in using them in an interesting and thoughtful way without splurging a whole palette of happiness onto my grid. Both these aspects at times allow me to make cryptic choices. Philosophy and literature often become topics in my research-based projects, meaning that text-based design allows for a typology of type experiments to happen throughout the process. Enigmatic, yet functioning as a catalog of statements. I want people to interpret my work, feel it, or get confused.
        I will call my approach to design practice as cynical. In the world of clean, joyful and objective design, I believe in our practice having the potential for subjectivity, obscenity and enigma. Scratch the surface so that glue goes deeper.  

/This website shows only few selected works. For more insight into smaller or older projects, as well as getting to know me - feel free to visit my Be or Inst./

Komnen
Graphic Design / Visual arts
Tbilisi/Georgia - The Hague/Netherlands

_ Loop

2018

Today, as usual, not a single alarm went off successfully and my half-dead body… Well, strange to say “half-dead” when it is kind of dead already? Or at least I feel it this way.

But anyway, my body, this awkward casket that limits you and me today, tomorrow and, well, forever, this casket suddenly felt higher than usual atmospheric pressure on it. That was Tommy, I managed to figure this out by the smell of lemons coming from him. Tom was the only person that fought hangovers with lemons out of three of us living in this house. And that was the moment I realised how hangover myself I was.

He literary dragged me out of my bed, while continuously hitting me with his already empty glass. For a moment I understood why he liked this strange remedy. And I wanted to cover my entire body with lemons, become a lemon and live amongst lemons forever.

Tommy hit me again, this time aiming at my shoulder:

- Man, you have to wake up - he said to me - or we will miss the lecture again.

I sat, stretched, scratched my head and started recalling memories from yesterday while struggling to remember what the hell was that lecture going to be about.

- Now, are you awake? - hopefully asked Tommy.

- Yes, yes.. Go ahead guys, and I’ll join you later at the Stadium itself - I replied and dragged the blanket from the bed in order to wrap my dead casket into it.

I still craved lemons, and that felt surprisingly usual.

An hour later I found misery and myself at the auditorium and there was this little squarish man, telling us how we can change the world by speaking up and volunteering. By being critical and strong independent personas in the field of art. I found it funny, as memories of yesterday came back to me, where I was stitching pieces of cat shit together as a “critical illustration of today’s politics”. Wonder, if our cats know that their naive piles were influencing human world that much. But if they knew - I doubt that they would really care.

My installation wouldn’t change anything. It was locked in the studio, the way we are all locked in the caskets of ours. No-one could see it. No-one could hear or reflect upon it. But would it change something if I became loud? How loud? How pompous? Loud for whom?

I sipped from my glass and silenced myself for a moment to enjoy the sour taste on my tongue. Then I wanted to continue, but suddenly felt so numb, as if my casket was made of rubber and came back to right mind only when I saw Tommy making weird faces at the first raw. I looked up. Students were looking at me with curiosity, and I started hearing subtle whispering in the space.

I started thinking about my cats again and looked back at my squarish fingers holding a glass with lemon water. Suddenly I whispered through the mic - “Speak up” and left the auditorium, leaving students to wander if everything was ok. Everything was. O.K.

I just wanted to go back to the studio, find my old cat shit work and see - if anything really changed when I spoke up.

_ Sour

2018

I was thinking today of people who like sour over sweet. What is it exactly that attracts them to it - I know little of. But I do assign myself to that type of people and that gives me an idea that actually what defines “sour people” is customisation. They all customise the taste of sour to some peculiar and specific traits of themselves. Sour is always awakening, sour is refreshing, sour is arousing, pumping, restarting and rebirthing. Why so? I don’t know. Ask nature or doubt my words. There is no other way around it.

As a disclaimer at the beginning: I won’t talk of others today, at least I’ll try to, even if some gut feeling hints me that it won’t happen. Also I will try not to be grumpy (another impossible task) and for the first time in a while I will talk about myself directly. Theo will not be here with me today, translating my thoughts to you.

For the most of my conscious past few years I deliberately attempt to eliminate the amount of “I” in my work, in written words, stories, description texts etc.. Why? I guess not to sound arrogant and self-assured, or simply it is too bold to put “I” next to other words in a sentence without interpreting, specifying and dissecting of what that “I” actually is. How is it connected to “sour” one may ask? Most people in my surrounding know this answer perfectly well as my Moto for life: pretty much as everything is already connected by nature. Thinking of what my “I” is, it seems as the question is not whether “I” exists or not, but rather in the structure of our society and how we are framed into narrow thinking. We are told that it is better to find one specific thing and be good at it, rather then jumping over the bushes with no depth in our mind. This can be perfectly illustrated simply by the system of higher education: “tailor your study” “graduated specialist” “narrow down your focus and dig deep”. I do agree with some parts of this conception, but how does this affect our “I”’s? As much as we are discussing the globalisation/ multiculturalness, internationality, travel etc… It is, if you critically look at it, just us talking about things that are barely connected to our reality, and the nature of living beings that are born with the need to categorise and segregate. These are shaping our ideas of belonging, and please, don’t get me wrong here. By “belonging” - the last thing I refer to is that socio-cultural emotional bullshit that is constantly on our lips these days. What I mean, is somewhat raw, uncooked, rotting and smelling but still alive.. We say “My mom is from here, my dad is from there, thus I am both”. But till which extent in our physical reality, where I can touch you and you can touch me, is that true? Because in the end we are something singular, and it is not in everyone’s nature to metamorph into anything through sheer will. I think this is time we go back to the Sour People.

Does anyone remember some years ago there were pens that could switch multiple colors? At some point they became oddly popular and “trendy”.

Click… Click… Click… Red…. Click… Black… Click… Blue… Click…

Equally useful to some extent. I am like that pen, constantly clicking and I’ll dare to say - most sour people are. We do not have constant universal belonging. We click. Click… Click… Purple….. Click… .. We click with different cultures, we find ourselves drowning , dissolving in the diverse spectre or nations and climates.. And here I don not mean those: “I love traveling and experiencing things” people. As well as I am not talking of cultural appropriation. What I mean is people who feel painful organic happiness over weird nostalgic French musicals of 2007, while finding other parts of themselves hidden in books of Dreiser and Joyce in the meantime dancing cha cha cha as if they were born to move this way only. People that do all of this and in the end belong to everything, honestly, to the deepest of their core, whilst belonging to nothing in particular.

Funny that this illustrates perfectly how connected we actually can be if we look broader and are not made from plastic sitting in comfortable boxes. We should be all sour. All sour, because this bitterness and acidity is always awakening, refreshing, arousing, pumping, restarting and rebirthing. Why so? Because sweet is way too comfortable. And every time you click to change and open other sides of yourself up - you need a juicy slap in your cheek to be able to experience the following taste fully. So fully that your tongue would shiver in ecstasy from sapidity of our world.
The same way you switch plates between meals.

Click… Click… Click… Click… Click…

Today I am jumping over bushes you may say. Partly, in someone’s view I might be exaggerating and hard to follow. Unclear. Irritating. Might be even obvious. But that is what will drive you and me actually, to question, find answers or stay confused, because not knowing - is the biggest satisfaction before the end. And in the end - this is how evolution happens. Let us not be singular, defined. People who have no belonging are on a path o discoveries. And being sour only helps them to enjoy it to the fullest.

_ God is with us

2018

“Don’t remember that day fully. Actually, if you think of it longer, its wasn’t even a day.” He remembers darkness of the night around, all rooms were silenced as if preying on something and hiding in the bushes. This silence was hunting down Tedore and his family, awaiting for His arrival. Easter in a few days.

At any moment this reticence could be murdered with an intensive sudden noise. But not yet. It felt as if Tedo was chained to the bed and mattress was swallowing him, making his disguise even trickier in order to falcon into the door when silence is murdered.

This is the moment. Rushing to the entrance. Hi there. For most of his life Tedo had to live abroad from home. This does influence you as a personality indeed, but more than that it reshapes your attitude towards certain objects and abilities to contextualise them. That night his father came back from a long trip, where he visited Home and brought some presents. “This is how we replace home now, I guess”. One of the items was a thin silver bracelet for Tedore, that was reminding of ouroboros, with an exception that it wasn’t infinite, wasn’t a snake and wasn’t an ouroboros. It was a religious piece. Simple, timeless Easter present with an intricate engraving in their language: God is with us. There isn’t much to describe about it visually, as well as it’s functional existence has kept itself questionable for Tedo ever since. Till this day he hates, loves, questions and ignores this object while never taking it off.

Being sceptical about everything since birth we have to say, even so, at that time, as a child, Tedo believed in God. Never was a true good Christian though and always suspected some under-tastes of bullshit in most of the rituals and unnecessary accessories. He accepted faith, even in his own socks, but not full corporal religions. For a kid - he was pretty odd in this matter. And if you couldn’t give him a good functional or emotional reason (which is quite paradoxical we have to admit) - Tedore wouldn’t agree with or do anything. Surprisingly enough, the only reason he was given that that bracelet should be with him at all times was - it protecting him and connecting with God. Ha. What it actually did - it connected Tedo to home. The only divinity he saw over these years - was how bright till this day and crystal clear it is. With time, him shapeshifting inside the realm of spirituality and becoming areligious, it became even weirder from perspective of reasoning to understand why he still can not take it off. Not for a single day over the past 6 years has this bracelet abandoned Tedore. The only thing that changed is it’s context, we guess, and the color of engraving. The deeper into the letter-shape - the darker words became. Still separated with little engraved crosses “God is with us" as if deepened into the surface, only leaving sharp edges of letters and the band itself shining bright as if brand new. What is this bracelet to him now? This is exactly THE question Tedo was not able to answer and pose properly. This question is as if shouted at him from the inside of that engraving the same way you see glimpses of scary shapes in the side of your eye, but he keeps pretending to hear nothing. Is it a childhood connection to home? Why is Tedore so scared to the core of his blood cells to take it off even when it serves seemingly no function, both moral and physical for him these days.


Six years ago he accepted it in the context of seeking warmth of home. Four years ago he questioned it in the context of turning his philosophy into spirit. Two years ago it became a relic of naive hope and cultural tradition. Today it is a beautiful object and an absolute point of relativity for metamorphosing meaning. It is not a symbol of religion as for others, but Tedo’s personal symbol for questioning. “And now that I think of it, what I fear the most about taking it off - is fear to stop searching for answers.”