During the months of August and September 2012 we participated in a residency programme that took place in an abandoned village named Tsarino, located in southern Bulgaria. Navigating in between facts and interpretation, we elaborated a series of works based on our research on 'The Revival Process', a large-scale assimilation campaign displayed between 1984-1989 by the communist regime in power at the time. The campaign targeted the largest minority group and eventually led to a mass exodus of more than 300.000 Bulgarian Turks. Gradually fleeing to Turkey over a period of three months, this episode is strongly linked to the rapid village abandonment that Bulgaria experienced during the 80’s. As they crossed the border using tourist visas issued by the state, the episode came to be known in western media as ‘The Big Excursion’
After searching for clues and patterns on site, and after trying to link together pieces of disjointed factual information, our work was ultimately exhibited in the form of an exploded research table. As these historical events are impossible to fully comprehend or recreate, the choice for our spacial arrangement of the works was to mobilise a different kind of encounter between them and the viewer. As such, we suspended our works in mid-air, throughout the space and around the viewer, to recreate the breach inherent in historical reconstruction.
The space (area of 42 square meters) was completely darkened for the exhibition, inviting to a closer inspection of the works, similar to looking through a microscope. Each fragment of our findings was presented under or above its own dim source of light which, in turn, gained its own function. For example, the collected dried out thorns, spines and prickles were fruitlessly set under a green tinted neon, as if under a grow light that could resurrect the plants they were once part of.