In the summer of 2012, the foundation organised a three-week residency programme titled Art in Post Public Space. The aim of this programme was to investigate more specifically what happens to art in a place that is very remote and no longer inhabited by potential audience. Twelve artists from different countries in Europe and the United States participated. The residency resulted in various site responsive works that were presented in the houses and surrounding landscape of Tsarino, focusing on the different aspects of the place, its history and present state. The participants chose to invite the local population from the surroundings of Tsarino to see how the village was being inhabited at that moment and what they had been working on during their residency.
ALICE GANCEVICI & REMUS PUŞCARIU
Researching the political aspects behind Bulgarian village abandonment in the 1980's, we came across what was known as 'The Revival Process', a large-scale assimilation campaign of all ethnic minorities in Bulgaria. Displayed between 1984-1989 by the communist regime in power at the time, the campaign was aimed especially at the largest minority group, the Bulgarian Turks. In 1989, the reactions towards measures implied by the campaign - for instance, forced name-changing - eventually led to a mass exodus of more than 300.000 Bulgarian Turks that crossed the border to Turkey over a period of three months.
In searching for a link between the abandonment of Tsarino and the exodus following the nation-wide assimilation process, our research was continued on site, in between vestiges - such as mosques, Islamic tombstones or various scraps left behind in the village. We elaborated a series of works concentrating on ideas about migration, abandonment, absence and renewal, constantly adapting our practice and rhythm to the arcadian surroundings. We were bound to further link our discoveries to the nature of this place, either by interpreting clues we came across or by engaging in slow paced crafts such as weaving or paper making - a combination of practices we hoped would help us glue together and further take apart our understanding of the equivocal unfolding of recent history as well as of the nature of currently uninhabited, derelict spaces.
- 30 SHEETS OF RECYCLED PAPER -
The installation consists of communist propaganda publications and bilingual newspapers (Bulgarian-Turkish) from the early 80's that were turned into pulp and reconstructed into blank sheets of paper. Containing a chance-selection of traces, such as random bits of letters and punctuation, these new products provide no accurate trail to betray the original document. The result is an anti-narrative hinting towards the solubility of the past, as well as a resource for new identity to be stamped upon.
THE 5TH COLUMN (3 SKETCHES)
- GLASS JARS, THORNS, SPINES AND PRICKLES -
3 household glass jars were filled with various thorns, spines and prickles, hand-picked from wild bushes and trees. The action of having contained a force by amputation recreates the feeling of unrest rendered within the body of a dominant culture - fear of being overgrown, overthrown, outnumbered; fear towards the possibility of a shift in monopoly.
THE BIG EXCURSION
- PERFORMANCE -
- ROPE, HOOKS, WALL FRAGMENT -
- B/W PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION -
The Big Excursion refers to property and it's utility - or, rather, futility - during migration. The handwoven vest, made out of clean white rope is meant to be grafted into the body of the carrier, conjoining him to his belongings. By questioning the mobility of assets in relation to our bodies' mobility, we reveal means of entrapment derived from the notion of home.
A MATTER OF SUBORDINATE NATURE
- INSTALLATION -
- HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, DIRT, MOSS, WATER -
Moss molded onto various items found in the village of Tsarino.
SISTERS FROM ANOTHER MISTER
(AMELIA PRAZAK, MICHELLE HOUSTON & MILDA LEMBERTAITĖ)
THE GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE
THE PINE NEEDLES
- MARKER ON NEWSPRINT -
TSARINO, OUTER MAHALA
- MARKER ON NEWSPRINT, TAPE, STRING, STONES -
This drawing maps five of Tsarino’s neighboring houses with their adjoining property. The tangible deterioration of the buildings is similar to the degenerative nature of memory.
- PENCIL ON PAPER -
-FADED CONSTRUCTION PAPER -
- DIRT -
- FADED CONSTRUCTION PAPER -
- TREE, STRAP, TOBACCO HOOKS -
The series Sediment is depicting the action of transforming a garment,
which remained for thirty years in an abandoned house,
the fabric - lying on the floor, covered in mud, merged with the soil into an inseparable brown emulsion,
the same clay the walls and the roof are covered with,
to separate the years, which caught dust, earth, weather, and life in its mesh.
The filtered matter of time. What remains is a stain, the years, its crust of decay.
To replace an object by its trace. To split time from matter.
The research objective lies in finding manifestations of change, inscribed into physical remnants.
- CONCREET, PAINT -
Even though Tsarino has been abandoned, the surrounding area is still actively used. Tobacco and vegetables are grown in the fields and cows roam around the village. This means that many of the roads are still used as well. There are a few roads that are suitable for cars and trucks, and there are also many cow and foot trails winding along the village. The roads interest me because they seem to be the only things left in Tsarino that are still in use, and actually developing.
I wanted to emphasise the roads of Tsarino. To do so, I have been looking for specific points where there is an interesting split or passage in the road. To give these points a certain significance, I thought of putting a special road sign next to them. This special sign became a big ’Tse’ (a Cyrillic letter and the first letter in the name Tsarino) stuck on top of a small pyramid. I used reinforced concrete and painted the letter blue and the pyramid white. These colours were chosen according to the blue/white combination that is regularly used to mark the pavement in Bulgaria. Also, these bright colours are highly noticeble in the natural landscape of Tsarino. Three ’Tse-points’ were created at three different changes in the road.
LOCAL AND COW
- METAL, WOOD, STRING, WEELS, BONES, WOOL -
During group discussions, a recurring theme was the definition of our position and relation to the local community, living in Chorbadzhiysko. I found that there were interesting shifts of identity going on between us and the local community: the Identity of being a local or a tourist. Initially, we were tourists for obvious reasons. But then, we were temporarily living in a place in which (despite of one remaining permanent resident and one regular visitor, who came as often as her health conditions let her) we were the main inhabitants, forming a community of roughly twenty people. In a way this made us the locals of Tsarino. As one can imagine, the activity of so many foreigners in a rather untouristic region aroused a lot of curiosity among the original locals. During the residency we got visited regularly by people from Chorbadzhiysko. This is interesting because to us it really felt as if they were the strangers, the tourists who would come to look at us as something exotic, just like we would do when visiting the Wednesday market of Chorbadzhiysko.
I wanted to play with the general idea of the relation between a local and a tourist by making sculptural characters which could interact with each other. I managed to build a local shepherd in company of his cow. Both were made of found materials from the village, the cow was primarily composed of bones. After finishing, I made a procession by dragging them from my house up to the small hill on which people of our group usually gathered to watch the sunset. The trip took about two hours. Eventually, on top of the hill, I slept with them for one night under the stars.
MAPPING THE ABANDONED VILLAGE OF TSARINO
- MARKER ON PAPER -
As a kick off for the residency, I created a basic, schematic map of Tsarino and its direct surroundings. The map mainly focuses on roads, footpaths and the houses with their original numbers. Besides that, I also worked out a number of icons to signify certain points of significance in the village such as wells, tobacco fields and toilets. All the icons are collected in a bi-lingual (English and Bulgarian) key. The design of some of the icons is based upon the icons used in old maps I found in Tsarino.
After finishing the map, I handed out copies to each residency participant and member of the organisation. Later, when we invited people to the open studio presentation, we modified the map and used the it as the flyer, indicating the location of each project.
CHARLOTTE TEN RAA
Behind the ruins on the left side of the village I found this big open field. In that time of the year the field was hit by the sun for eight hours. In the following weeks I spent my time there to understand the course of the sun.
With a compass I would look where the sun rose behind the mountain and where it would set again. I would tie strings around the trees that were in line with east and west. One of the strings I put perpendicular to the other. At noon the string was in line with the highest point of the sun.
Four strings were hanging in the air. Placed on top of them were several sticks, forming three times the same shape: one square inside another. When placing the sticks on the strings, the sticks would find their position by their weight; by laying on the strings as a suspension bridge.
When the sun reached its highest point, the sticks would cast a shadow in the shape of a clear square. At both the beginning and end of the day the shadows were very crooked; it was almost impossible to recall the rectangular shape in it.
12-09-12, 10:40 12-09-12, 15:54, facing east
12-09-12, 16:04, facing north east 13-09-12, 11:11, facing east
The period in which the Tsarino Art Residency 2012 was being held, was the season in which the thistle plants were letting go of their thistledown.
I collected a lot of thistle plants, put them in bottles and kept them inside a room. Over the following two weeks thousands of thistledowns started to fill the floor of the room.
During the open studios at the end of the residency, people could enter a cleared room full of thistledowns and they could make the little fluffs swirl in the space with two fans I made from sticks and paper. It felt as if you were inside a storm of thistledowns. The work made it possible to observe the behavior of those light little objects once they were in big groups, trapped inside a room with the public in charge of moving them.
In a room of one of the houses in the village I had made an installation which was lit by only one candle. I would conduct the installation in order to make figures and objects move and by doing so, their shadows would be moving too. My intension was to use all four walls as a projection screen for the shadows, while leaving visible the artifacts and myself, who were making the shadow play happen. We make the stories in our head, even when we see how the images are actually being created. Similar to magic tricks: the trick is happening right in front of you but you still perceive the magic.
SYNCOPES AND SKIN AND THE HEARTBEAT OF TSARINO
The house I chose as my working subject consists of three rooms. I selected a specific visual aspect of each room and focused on these.
With graphite and charcoal I made changes to these parts, photographed them and used the prints as the basis for my work.
With the use of prints, drawings and text, I reconstructed the rooms into a set of collages that developed into of a book consisting of three chapters.
Room one: a window.
Room two: the walls and corners.
Room three: three vertical holes on a wall.
The book as a medium contains a strong element of intimacy with its reader, and the defined borders, a beginning and an end, sets it free from its surroundings so it can keep the context strictly to itself.
By using this form of expression I could build up a new room and create a story that with the help of time could grow within its own frames, just like the houses of Tsarino.
As always in my work, some words and forms from previous works were added to the process and the system of symbols that was developed.
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