Adina Mocanu & Alexandra Sandu

Untitled house
2013, (re)story, Tsarino, Bulgaria

Today is 7th of January, we are in silence, waiting for our 2013’s flashbacks. In our typical way of remembering thinks, our memories are not chronological; our memories are random but full of adventures.

For you, dear readers and listeners, we will try to do it chronologically. The concept, the process and the result of our work will appear later in the story, you will get it.

Waiting - in all its forms, that was the beginning of 2013 for us. We were waiting for our life events that developed during 2013. For us two: to do something with our traditional background that can fulfil our way of seeing art, to practice, to debate and to discover together what public space is, what performance art means and to push our actions to ourselves, to form an artistic duo that increased the power for this two identical goals. Those were the result of the thoughts that pass through our minds after the winter holiday at every art history classes at the 3rd floor of the University, in every moment that we entered in the studio having a blank look into the black ink from the table. We can still remember the dirtiness from the table; the traces of a depressing black dirtiness of what graphic art can mean, the dried coffee circles from the white long desks, the emptiness of the room, the glittery grey linoleum.

It was the spring of 2013, we were sitting outside on a balcony, we were wearing something yellow and we were three. Tudor was the third person, the one that said to us about Tsarino, about a group of artists gathering each summer in Bulgaria.

Following the chronological wire of our memories, we remember the day when we were eating on a bench in Cișmigiu park, in Bucharest. It was the beginning of summer; it was the moment when we imagined our project for the residency in Tsarino. We imagined the village, the houses and the space. We were thinking of the materials and ways of building the house. We created the frame of our proposal; we created the space of a new projection. We drew the tools and the materials that we will need. We wrote and we waited.

We spent our summer in Italy, travelling from south to north, making our first videos Untitled (supermercato) and step by step creating our working method. Everything was so spontaneous, so fluid, so real. From ludic to serious, from happened to produced, from hazard to order, from an avalanche of memories to the olive groves into the night. We jumped from Venice to Tsarino, with a 10 hours stop in Bucharest.

We travelled to Tsarino by car and we arrived at the foothill in the night time. People from the organisation were waiting for us, in front of a gas station. They pick up our luggage and our bottles of water and we jumped into the old Rover, listening to The Doors. ‘The Greatest Heats - The Doors’ became the leitmotiv of the 3 weeks experience in Bulgaria, cliché or not, but for us, all was just the perfect soundtrack of an experience. At that time we were so lost into the presence that after that night we could never recognise the place where we first meet. It was like a temporary meeting point that vanished once that you start to go up on the hill. In the darkness of the forest, the car trunk opened and all the water bottles and half of our stuff were spread along the ‘road’. We have been installed in the most ‘posh’ house from the abandoned village with no water and two sleeping bags.

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- the ‘fridge’ and the cows

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- the bananas and our Olympic diet

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- the ‘monsters’ bee horns and the fight

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- Kong Fu and the nuts.

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- the ladder and the hills.

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- the matches and the eggplants

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- the duties and the wood

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- the ghost and the search

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- the sound and the unseen animal

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- the performance and the ‘Hello Girls!’

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The main subject of the residence was waiting. “Waiting gives time, takes time, but is not the same time that is given and that is taken” (Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion). Staying in Tsarino can seem to be directed by a time-division that has been stretched sideways. Every small activity takes time. - Yes, indeed, the water itinerary, the breakfast preparation. The proposal project 'Untitled House' was linked with the theme of 'waiting'. The concrete result of our process of waiting was ‘the house as an object’. Metaphorically, waiting is the ‘action’ and at the same time the ‘non-action’ that links the ideas with the facts; we took ”the house” as being our leitmotiv for changing. We decided to build the house on top of a hill, far away from our house (the decision was spontaneous, based on the view, the sound of the eagles, the beautiful song of the women calling her cows. Every afternoon, before the sunset we rest under a nut tree, realising and contemplating the day that just passes. We were surprised by our devotion to building the house just by ourselves, about our tiredness and ambition, about friendship and supporting each other like Atlas supporting the sky.

Metaphorically, waiting is the ‘action’ and at the same time the ‘non-action’ that links the ideas with the facts; we took ‘the house’ as being our leitmotiv for changing. In the process of building and fulfilling the project we passed through some changes, we developed stories and we achieved difference layers on our project. The first layer of the project was a physic one- the house as an object. We documented all the process: cutting by saw the wood, handling the hummer, the 3 m height, making holes into the stony soil, we documented all our struggling. We have a still video with the house - the house as an object. We decide not to show the object, to present all the process because all our experience in Bulgaria was about us, as a duo, as artists and friends, as part of our formation.

The second layer was an immaterial performance. It was our first performance into an exhibition space, the cultural house of Chorbadzhiysko, the audience was the population of the village - mix of Muslim and Christian community, due to the fact that we were at the border with Greece and Turkey. The performance moment was a cascade of feelings, a focus on our movements, of the focus on how we are changing the square shape into a circle. - We were drawing with chalk the plan of the house (a square) in one of the exhibition rooms and walk on its chalk sides until it disappeared.

We remember even now that the performance moment was so intense, we were as curious as the public. During our performance, we were looking on the window, a window that was facing the main road, near a market. We were looking at a man caring some banana boxes; we wanted to keep a connection with the street, with its action. After the performance, we fell asleep on the red chairs from the spectacle room. Between the chairs and us were some stones, big stones. We woke up and ate a birthday cake, it was good.

Our project in Tsarino is about our experience in the residency, is for those who are partakers of our story, for those who understand and imagine our experience there trough our eyes. In this way the project is in a continuous change, never-ending, that generates and renews the moments and the time spent there.

Our best wishes,


Adina Mocanu & Alexandra Sand

© 2020 Tsarino Foundation