The city was asleep and it had a dream, 2021

VR experience for HTC Vive

The city was asleep and it had a dream is a VR experience by artist duo Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze. The work is a meditative dreamy journey into the unconscious of contemporary Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Imagine moving in the white space of a city like a puzzle, divided into several parts, several symbols. All around you are well arranged, quiet structures of various functions such as residential buildings, a church, a police station, pawnshops, currency exchange, abandoned constructions and a ghost building of the Khrushchyovka Architecture, un informal name of apartment houses developed in the USSR in the early 1960s. Through these architectural signs of the neoliberal present and the Soviet past still perceptible in a cityscape the work takes you to the place where via bringing together the ideologies, the past and the present encounter each other. The architectural heritage of the Soviet Union has undergone a complex process of re-defining its function and a place in the transitional period of the post-totalitarian present. The buildings constructed for certain goals based on the demands of the Soviet ideology are not responsive to the current challenges and often appear only as silent artifacts of “troubled” landscapes. For that reason, in the work, we count the age of contemporary Tbilisi from the collapse of the USSR and observe the changes that the city has undergone since then. The transformation of Soviet architecture into DIY extensions of the living blocks, a chaotic wave of new buildings, the abandoned construction sites as the signs of a permanent crisis have created a new biography of Tbilisi.

The work can raise questions that, even if they may not be answered immediately, provoke, produce or renew a very necessary debate concerning the future of the architectural heritage left from the soviet and post-soviet past.


VR programmer: Alexandre Lashkhi

Sound design: Anano Sikharulidze


Duration: Around 20 minutes




Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze are the Tbilisi-based artists working together since 2011. Their practice includes multimedia, interdisciplinary, and curatorial projects. Focusing on themes such as the disappearance and oblivion, the key medium of the artists are words, texts, VR, and CGI imagery. They research the personal and collective memory transformed by significant socio-political events. The duo has participated in many international and local exhibitions, including “Houston, we have a problem” - Artisterium VII; “Buildings are not enough” - Tbilisi Architecture Biennale; IDFA doclab, and other projects .

Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze will represent Georgia at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale Di Venezia with an immersive artwork I Pity the Garden comprising large-scale video installation and VR experience.

If you are interested in exhibiting or viewing this artistic VR experience, please send an email to us.