Travelling is a good way of being. At times one feels enlightened because the world works in simple ways and the more that you see and experience, the less ignorant and naive you believe yourself to be. At other times, you worry, not because there is much more to worry about than if you were to live and work in one city all your life, but because it is puzzling to comprehend your position in this world or why things actually exist in the way that they do. Then there are things that you learn to despise, like borders, and other things that bring you joy, like the diversity of humans and their hospitality.
I wanted to write the above, for despite its romantic sentiment towards freedom “on the road” it is actually true. Truth is important although not always appropriate.
I spent three days in Sofia which is not long enough. After being in Istanbul and Turkey for past two months, Bulgaria is a comforting break from the Istanbuli expenses of living, sexual tension, and the city’s intense bustling urban melee. There is something about being in Europe which just cannot be explained, but seems to be omnipresent within it. This said, Sofia was massively different from any other European city that I have visited. It was nice to be in a place where smoking was still permitted indoors, even though this is true in Turkey also, and where the atmosphere on the street was very calm despite the prevalence of alcohol-inhumed people. Not that we only spent time in the city, we also took time out on a brief excursion up one of the surrounding mountains.
Whilst in the city it is impossible not to notice that there are a lot of structures that are disused or abandoned or are in a process of deconstruction. Unlike Istanbul which has all of these things as well as structures in a process of construction. One of the most interesting structures is in the City Centre and is at the opposite end of a Plaza to National Palace of Culture Congress Centre. This sculpture is in a state of deconstruction yet is still a dominant feature of the landscape. Of course the sculpture is a part of a delicate and sensitive topic, what the sculpture represents is most likely a totalitarian and fascist state of being which I assume the people are in opposition to. For some reason it is difficult to know what people in Bulgaria really think and how much is done for the people and not just appearances. It is difficult to find appropriate references online to substantiate any subjective comments that I might make about Bulgaria or the Sculpture that I am directly referring to here.
My issue with the sculpture can be said to be with the fact that the sculpture is simply being torn down. Now there are two problems with this for me. Obviously the first is going to be that this is an act of vandalism against a piece of art. It is an object that represents the country’s past history, culture. If I am to consider that I am currently working towards a project that is attempting to study past culture because such a thing is a part of a country’s heritage and identity this act of erasure is simply incomprehensible and counter-intuitive. Such a poignant and valuable work should not be taken away from the public, instead it should remain but it ought to be contextually altered to suit the new day. Another piece of work ought to counter this sculpture, a piece of work that illustrates how the people are free from the tyranny of this preceding state of being.
I said that deconstructing the sculpture is counter-intuitive, this leads me to make my second objection. By removing all evidence of the past we do not only damage our understanding of our pasts but also what they really represented. I mean to say that this could lead to a state of denial, was the state rule really that bad? Did it really happen? Removing the evidence is like trying to mask the reality of the past and I believe it will promote a misunderstanding of the mechanisms of that particular period of time. How can the people of today be taught about the times of before without evidence and material?
I not found any images online for this sculpture and neither do I know its name.
And hey! Congratulations Dartington College of Arts Graduates 2010!