END OF THE TECHNICAL CHECK (2017)
The Bulgarian film archives from the communist regime are replete with perfectly arranged glorifications of the system, leaders, events and activities from the period. End of the Technical Check is an appropriation of archival footage from two manifestations, taking place on the 9 th of September 1955 and 1959 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The 9th of September marks Bulgaria’s turn to a communist state, thus the date was celebrated as a national holiday until 1989. The footage employed originates from a news reportage broadcasted on TV demonstrating the cheerful citizens rejoicing the success and contentment of the communist system, alongside the military and navy officers carrying weaponries, followed by tanks, and the praised leaders watching over the state, ascended from the crowds, waving and receiving flowers.
Television has always been a way of storytelling and spreading information, exceeding barriers of knowledge and mobility. In the case of the communist regime – a vital propaganda tool, carefully used to shape public opinion, whilst taking full responsibility for political, ideological and even artistic representations. Such manifestations were taking place across the whole country and were compulsory to attend. The parades created public spectacles which performed and imposed statements of power and control, with the purpose of showing discipline, order and authority. Although the archival images appear as a documentation, they are rather an artful fabrication of reality. The intervention which I have imposed upon the archival footage, consists of reversing each frame and altering the original sound. The new audio is of a test of an air raid sirens recorded on the 3rd of April 2017 in front of Sofia Central Prison, where a number of political prisoners were sent during communism. The re-contextualization of the footage raises questions regarding the authenticity and legitimacy of the state archive, the state-created truth and the imposed historical narratives.
Image 1: F O R M - Seen Fifteen Gallery, London, UK, 2020
Image 2: Balkan mine, EEP Berlin, Berlin, 2019
Image 3: Archives as Medium, Four Corners Gallery, London, 2019