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Shooting Ghosts
Online screening programme in cooperation
with the Goethe-Institut Sofia

Artists: Veneta Androva, Neno Belchev, Mitch Brezounek, Marina Genova, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Kalin Serapionov, Dimitar Shopov, Kamen Stoyanov, Samuil Stoyanov, Krassimir Terziev

Curators: Kalin Serapionov, Krassimir Terziev

What we propose in this programme is a highly subjective and fragmented view on current practices in moving image in the Bulgarian art scene. We focused on practices that show affinity with speculative narratives - narratives that not just record what is in front of the cinematic eye, but also capture all the ghosts that are unreachable by the apparatus, thus projecting speculative views that intend not merely to describe, but to transform the world.

All works in the programme start not from a blank page, but from a directly lived experience that poses a problem. So they all stay close to the real, perceived from the personal position of the artist. But the artists are not content to figure all the elements that already shape the reality of the experienced situation, nor to reduce it to a chain of probabilities and calculations. On the contrary, their approach at work is to complicate the situation with all the possibilities that are not foreseen, with all the ghosts and monsters that are part of the picture but invisible from certain angles. In order to realise all the possibilities that shape reality the artists take on the angles of wild imagination, grotesque exaggeration, or poetic indetermination.

Yet what we witness is not merely artistic play. It is an outcome of certain ethical and political positions that reject the view that the world is a predetermined product of calculated probabilities, lately emerging as the apotheosis of the Capitalocene.

Read the full text

Veneta Androva
Ear Cleaning, 2018

animation, 18 min

Veneta Androva deals with the question of how we participate in the world of news. She examined the forums on different news sites and how they - despite the administrators’ assurances to pay attention to etiquette and ethics - become a space for aggressive, offensive and obscene comments without this being sanctioned. And also for automatically created advertising for classic products - from drugs against nail fungus to wondrous methods for their quick removal. The starting point of Veneta Adrova’s video work is the report of a woman of Roma origin who is said to have killed a retiree because of five levs (ca. 2.50 euros) - as the media constantly emphasise. As a total counterpoint to the aggression and sublime paranoia imposed by the media, the video was developed using the ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian reaction) method. This mass phenomenon on YouTube began as early as 2016 and although it has not yet been scientifically investigated, consumers speak a clear language: thousands of such videos each receive a few million clicks. In short, ASMR wants to create a euphoric reaction with visual and auditory stimuli in the lower intensity range, just above the perception threshold. Such stimuli are usually quite inconspicuous and well known from everyday life, and create an inexplicable, comfortable shudder: sounds of whispering, scratching with long nails until scraping on skin. 'Ear Cleaning' by Veneta Androva is a frightening experimental setup. It shows how an involuntarily pleasant feeling can be generated with ASMR impulses when looking at the worst of the news pages’ comments. Thus Veneta Androva’s work becomes a frightening hypothesis about a further possible connection between pleasure and hatred.
Text: Stefka Tsaneva

Neno Belchev
My Heart Is an Octopus or My Father on the Shore of the Black Sea, 2016

duration: 01:33 h

A video-art film or autobiographical fiction by Neno Belchev based on the novel of Bezmer Bagryanov "My Last Abstract Painting"

"Everything is meaningless, even in cases when the meaning is obvious! In other words: There is sense even in the most meaningless acts!"
My father (an artist)

As a story structure, this pseudo-autobiographical fiction reminds a postmodern novel: fragmented, plotless and on first view: chaotic. Individual pieces can be rearranged and each one has its own life. In terms of genre, the film stands on the border between pseudo-documentary, dark comedy, punk (as an attitude) and video-art.The movie uses the expressive means of a documentary film, however, it is not a documentary, and it even contains some phantasmagorical and sci-fi elements and criminal moments, which it skillfully combines with grotesque animation and poetic visual language. It aims to bring to life the author's understanding regarding art and his innovative position of a man, who works with the moving image, of a film-maker. About the story in the film, my friends said that I gave this story to the audience on homeopathic pieces.

Mitch Brezounek
How to Become the Best Artist, 2020

tutorial, 35 min, HD, 4:3

Doug, an old master painter, decided to create with the assistance of his son a VHS tape - an exceptional art tutorial to learn, understand and become the next best artist in the world.

Marina Genova
New Comfort Zone, 2019

animation, 3:44 min sound, color, aspect ratio: 16:9

Scientific advancements demanded a new architecture - a design that develops hand in hand with technology. We already think about space differently. We managed to merge the physical and virtual world by merging our homes with data centres. The future made its way into the present.

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova
A Made-up Story, 2014-2015

video, 13:17 min

We bought an old house in the mountains. The house was packed full of traces from somebody’s life. All through the summer we were going through dust soaked, tightly sucked into each other things: stuff like beds, cupboards, pots and clothing. We dumped everything from the terrace down onto the lawn. Whatever was left intact we saved. From the rotten remains of a wooden cupboard a bunch of photographs spilled out: a young man on a white horse, two girls in polka dot dresses, and a group of soldiers...

I collected these photos and called the relatives offering them the chance to come back and retrieve them. They refused. I thought of getting rid of the photos but I just couldn’t do it. So, I cleaned them up, I sorted them out, and I invented stories for them. Thus I kind of gave them a second chance at life. Owning them is now a little less of a burden for me.

Kalin Serapionov
A Blonde Woman in a Red Dress and Bright Lipstick is Talking on the Phone, 2016

video, 5:59 min, HD, 16:9, sound

A video portrait where the title suggests what the image is. The frame is one shot; the camera follows the 'model', the movement and the gestures. However, the viewer does not see the real image; instead, the video camera pans the range of colour graphics. The waveforms are showing the level of the video signal where the more 'white spots' there are in the various colour levels, the better the cinematography of the image. The image is hidden here behind the technical graphics. The viewer is asked to penetrate the opaque surface of speculation or truth, to read these diagrams and analyse them, to try to build up their own associations about the image and its 'creator', while relying on the information provided by the title of the work.
Sound Angel Simitchiev

Dimitar Shopov
Plovdiv Life Vest, 2017

6:57 min, HD, color, sound

"Plovdiv Life Vest" is a film forecast by the Bulgarian director Dimitar Shopov, created at the beginning of the 21st century /2017/. The film is inspired by the Bulgarian people and dedicated to the Old Town of Plovdiv.

'Plovdiv Life Vest' is a film forecast by the Bulgarian director Dimitar Shopov, created at the beginning of the 21st century /2017/. The film is inspired by the Bulgarian people and dedicated to the Old Town of Plovdiv.

The plot develops in a geometric progression of bad phenomena, and like any future, it is not optimistic. The earth is inhabited by hundreds of different types of humanoid robots, but not humans. And yet humankind – this unique species – manages to isolate itself and exists in a handful of forgotten people who found salvation in the last ecosystem on Earth - the city of Plovdiv. Humankind has crossed all boundaries and has exceeded the limit of its nonsense - the year is 2120. There is only one climate - tropical. Tomatoes have given way to bananas.

The Eternal City is very excited and has 20 million residents seeking political asylum from all over the world.

The machines in this city, unlike the rest of the world, are unusable. Cars are used for carts and barns, the virtual gives way to the real.

But there is still a machine that people cannot part with because it literally keeps the economy alive.

The coffee machine!

Kamen Stoyanov
Havalimani – New Istanbul Dream, 2017

26:52 min. HD, color, sound

Since 2014 Turkey has been constructing its third international airport. Istanbul New Airport was planned to be the world's largest airport in the future. The opening was scheduled for February 2018.

In the film the construction site turns into an arena of critical artistic observation and intervention. Using the old 'Karagöz' theatre in the setting of the airport and in th current political situation in Turkey allows a strong critique of power structures. Karagöz is an old Ottoman theatre which provided the possibility to make a public critique of the governing power. Today, Erdogan is pushing back Turkey ́s modernisation to 'Re-Ottomanisation'.

The revival of the abandoned Karagöz is used as a form of critique.This is happening in a double bind. It revitalises a traditional Ottoman technique of critique to criticise the current re-Ottomanisation in Turkey. The film ends with a musical performance of the song 'Karagözlum' by the Turkish Band Zoomk Ru Tu. The song is an adaptation of the popular Turkish singer Seda Sayan ́s song 'Karagözlum'. The original song was adapted to the content of the film (parts of the interviews flowed into the lyrics.) and reinterpreted musically.

New Istanbul Airport is one of Turkey’s most controversial projects in recent times for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are problems with the area’s ground, because of its instability. Secondly, the airport’s potential environmental impact on the surrounding nature. Thirdly, there is no need for a another airport as Atatürk is big enough for current needs. The new airport is located in the Northern Forest Area, which is of huge importance for Istanbul’s ecological sustainability. The movie shows the construction site of the New Istanbul Dream from a critical perspective. Documentary and staged sequences are mixed. The main issue of the video is the conflict between Erdogan ́s 'mega-project' and its impact on nature and on the villagers living around the future airport

Samuil Stoyanov
10 min National Museum of Natural History, 2013

10:20 min, full HD, sound

This work is part of a series of videos that are shot in different buildings around the world. The basic idea is to make a kind of night portrait of buildings using unusual dynamic lighting of various internal spaces. Rooms in the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia are full of stuffed animals and insects, fossils in which, by their very nature, matter stands still in terms of time. This context gives additional meaning to the light as an agent of ‘revival'.

'Samuil Stoyanov's site-specific space portraits series started with the Geocidite building in Belgrade where the 53rd October Salon took place in 2012. To study these modernist spaces of display and presentation, the artist first destabilises the light, the fixed element of every space as such. Through these portraits every building he interacts with becomes a part of Stoyanov's artistic cosmos. In a gesture of hurling a light bulb above his head making the largest possible circle, Stoyanov, in his own words, makes reference to the spatial movement of the objects in the universe. Here the figure of the artist appears not only as a pseudo-scientist conducting inventive experiments but also as a black hole holding all the centrifugal movement in an orbit around him. The artist chose the Natural Museum of History in Sofia as the venue for his first such experiment with a site-specific portrait in Bulgaria as the museum is a classic display location for geological history.'
Text: Ovul Durmusoglu (Turkey, Germany)

Camera: Rayna Teneva
Video and audio editing: Stanislav Kolev and Samuil Stoyanov.
Filmed in the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia, Bulgaria

Krassimir Terziev
[...] Suspended, 2020

experimental film, 8:38 min, FHD (portrait 9:16), sound

'The short experimental film uses the formula of the classic suspense movie to materialise the sensation of trauma. The dramatic music, the focusing on a close-up visual perimeter, the use of a handheld camera, which causes the depressing 'shakiness' of the shots – all this triggers both physical and emotional reactions. While inevitably related to the current pandemic situation, the video actually gives a much more universal warning far beyond the specifics of the moment. The film is also somewhat ironic – behind the chilling tension on the surface, it shows just an empty apartment (the artist’s studio), while the suspense caused by the sound is based on samples from the ready-to-use library, an element of the video editing software. It’s a readymade suspense that everyone can create according to one’s taste.'
Text: Maria Vassileva

courtesy Structura Gallery, Sofia

Shooting Ghosts
Online screening Program in cooperation with the Goethe Institute Sophia

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