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History in between, Sofia History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020.
Photography by Atanasov.





OPERATION “THUNDER” (2020)


photography, moving image, performance, installation




In 1958 the Bulgarian State Security led operation “Thunder” in which 1328 young people from Sofia were arrested, as they wore skinny trousers, short skirts and duffle coats, and listened and danced to Western music. Most of them were between 20 and 30 years old and were artists, musicians, writers and university students. They were detained in the first department of State Security which was dealing with the investigations of political crimes, and was on Moskovska №5 st.. They were consequently sent to forced labour camp Belene.

Operation “Thunder” is a site-specific multimedia installation commissioned by the curator Vessela Nozharova for Sofia History Museum. A section of the work features archival photographs of the people arrested and photographed in the State Security’s investigation department. A part are also three moving image pieces, in Moskovska №5 I have combined photographs taken at the site with an essay about the history and present of the building. The hands of the curator is a performative film in which I bring in and curate artefacts collected from the site of State Security in the museum space. In Top Secret! I have employed footage from the State Security archives used for the training of secret agents. The installation also conveys elements from the interior design of the offices of State Security.

The installation attempts to pose questions regarding the memory of buildings and spaces, and how to preserve and activate it.










History in between, Sofia History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020.
Photography by Atanasov.



History in between, Sofia History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020.
Photography by Atanasov.



History in between, Sofia History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020.
Photography by Atanasov.




 Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 1.



 Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 3.



Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 5. 



Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 2.



Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 4.




Arrested for hooligan behaviour and appearance 1958, 6. 









Moskovska №5, Top secret! & The hands of the curator films part of the installation Operation “Thunder”, History in between, Sofia History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2020. Photography by Atanasov.





MOSKOVSKA №5

duration: 16:12'




Excerpt from the film Moskovska №5







The building of State Security at st. Moskovska 5, currently housing the National Archives.

 


The basement of Moskovska №5 which was used as cells during the communist regime, currently it is used for storage.





St. Veliko Tarnovo, where the side entrance of State Security was and from where the arrested men were escorted into the building, 2020.


Details in the basement of State Security, 2020.





Top Secret!

duration: 3:39’





Excerpt from the film Top Secret!




Still images from the film Top Secret!




The hands of the curator 

duration: 4:04’






Excerpt from the film The hands of the curator.




Still image 1 from The hands of the curator

Still image 2 from The hands of the curator



Still image 3 from The hands of the curator



Still image 4 from The hands of the curator






All rights reserved. 2021.