»Appraise me and negotiate the price,
As I’m up for the sale now.«

Vano, 44 years old,
Newspaper Word and Deed, 1997

I started working on this project last fall, at the same time, I went through a short-term relationship. On a Sunday, I received a question in message requests on Instagram - what does the text in your bio »‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’ Luke 23:43« mean?

I do not remember how many days the conversation lasted, but we both realized that a meeting was inevitable. Things got easier when I learned that my date was going to head back to his home country in two months. 

I do not like the word date. Maybe it’s because I try to avoid the clichés or just like the others - responsibilities. I have not been on a date for a long time, one could even say - never. For me, today all meetings are pre-date. This time too, I tried to turn this encounter into a usual, insignificant meeting. At least for me. That’s why I wrote to them that I could meet them after work for a coffee at a cocktail bar where no one goes to drink coffee. I justified my choice by saying that the bar was located next to my workplace.

I stayed at work until 10pm as usual and then left. I forgot that I was supposed to drink coffee, automatically ordered Negroni, and waited for an orange-colored head to show up. In two months, it would bid farewell with the following words:

»Mute me

Restrict me

But please never block me«.

The Soviet Union was counting its last years when still unborn Georgia began to disintegrate. Following the declaration of independence, the country plunged into chaos; on the way from socialism to the not-so-free market, economic stability was replaced by inflation and crisis, atheism by Orthodox Christianity, fragile internationalism by aggressive patriotism. Gas was cut off, the water stopped, the electricity was gone. At the end of the millennium, those who survived the wars, did not freeze to death, did not emigrate, or simply did not overdose on drugs continue trying to survive.

In 1997, for the first time in Georgia, a newspaper is out where readers are looking for a job offer or for a property for purchase or sale (majority is selling it). Several pages with the sections of employment and services also include dating offers. Those who have nothing material left for sale, sell and exchange love. In ads they tell the stories of their desires, disappointments, despair, minimal requirements, and fears, and about the society they are part of.

The photos shown here are interconnected with symbolic items that were used to recognize a date during the blind dates. They are partially collaged with archival materials from dating ads published in the newspaper word and deed.