Past Meets Future
Georgia’s past collides with the future in Misho Antadze’s “The Harvest”.We see that Georgia is softly making its way into the 21st century as the second largest exporter of bitcoins. In the region of Kakheti, east of the capital city of Tbilisi, about 15% of the world’s cryptocurrency is mined, or “harvested”. Nearby in the fields of the Gombori Pass, space-age machines are housed in empty villas, thus bringing in a new form of capitalism to Georgia. Antadze shows us the computer banks, in which so many rapid-fire, complex algorithms are solved. A hitherto hidden industry is brought to life.
The rural Kakheti wine region sees the boundary between the natural and the virtual virtually done away with. Cows graze alongside satellite dishes and dairy farms and server farms coexist. Intersections of pastoral rhythms and algorithms are seen through fluid camerawork as we see the old and the new in long takes of protagonists working on the countryside or on computers, unaware that the landscape is both literally and figuratively changing.
Basically this is a70-minute study of the “cryptocurrency boom in Georgia and it is also a work of cartography, ecology and tech history, revealing the vineyard region of Kakheti to be the nexus point between agriculture, modern technological infrastructure and natural wilderness.” It focuses on the growth in the region of massive computer banks for mining Bitcoin and the blurring of boundaries between the material and virtual worlds. Director Antadze explores the impact that new technologies are having upon this peripheral area of Europe.
Antadze juxtaposes the everyday, commonplace imagery of rural village life (butchery, dairy farming, soil cultivation), with the more exotic and abstract intimacies of technology throughout the region (datahubs, computer banks, electricity and telecommunications cabling). The film is also concerned with the political, particularly when it comes to its study of environment, and the way that the natural landscape is being modified and restructured through the growth of computer technology infrastructure.