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 around in 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 noticeable in the natural landscape of Tsarino. Three ’Tse-points’ were created at three different changes in the road.
Local And Cow
Metal, wood, string, wheels, 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 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 non-touristy 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 the 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 it as the flyer, indicating the location of each project.
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