Alice Gancevici & Remus Puşcariu
Researching the political aspects behind Bulgarian village abandonment in the 1980s, 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 '80s 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.