Krasimira Butseva

Balkan Ours

(2016 - Ongoing)

‘’Totalitarianism is not only hell, but all the dream of paradise—the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony.’’ - Milan Kundera 

The Russian revolution started with the idea of creating a ‘’better place’’ on Earth, instead the Soviet Utopia quickly shifted to the very opposite. Maintaining the state relied on suffering, striving and controlling through fear. The glorified ideas of the Soviet dream along with the everyday struggle and terror were both a part of the same reality. Through time, the paradise of communism grew smaller and poorer, while the Gulag grew bigger. The USSR was drowning in disorientation and only the propaganda kept up the hopes of the people. Balkan Ours explores the dystopian reality of the Eastern European communism and the silenced terror of the recent past, focusing on events that took place between 1946 and 1989 in Bulgaria. The work was produced as a response to the unspoken events, by using photography and archives, as well as by conducting interviews. Referencing the histories of the People’s Court and the forced labour camps, governmental buildings and public spaces used for hostage and murder, the work aims to ask questions of the unvoiced past and the other side of the communist Utopia. The series depict my journey through the spaces, artefacts and stories of remembrance, juxtaposed with the collective denial of the human rights violations carried out by the totalitarian regime. The irretrievability of the truth, creates a space for reflection and acknowledgement of the past.

Using Format