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former soviet fabric

Plovdiv BULGARIA 2019

2min 31sec 

sound by Franz Dude

In 2019, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, served as the European Union's Capital of Culture, offering me the chance to exhibit solo at the Austrian Cultural Pavilion. Delving into the city's history, I discovered numerous abandoned Soviet-era factories, sparking my interest in documenting these relics frozen in time through stop-motion animation. Navigating the bureaucratic maze to secure permission proved challenging, with unclear jurisdictional boundaries and security concerns complicating matters. Yet, the factories stirred poignant memories among Plovdiv's residents, serving as silent monuments to a bygone era with an uncertain future. Fortuitously, I crossed paths with two local artists, one of whom facilitated access to an abandoned power plant for my project. Armed with a key, I ventured into the factory, encountering a scene untouched for 15 years. Despite the overwhelming dust and language barriers, I meticulously arranged found objects—pipes, tools, old clothes—breathing life into the desolate space. The intense physical demands of stop-motion animation left me exhausted yet fulfilled, akin to the myth of Sisyphus endlessly pushing his boulder. Each movement, each adjustment, contributed to a larger narrative, imbuing the process with a performative quality that varied with each day and location. Despite uncertainties about returning, I persevered, only to be met with eviction by two stern figures. Yet, in those fleeting moments, I had captured a piece of history, preserving the essence of a forgotten factory for posterity.

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