The photo gallery
The commemoration echo made room for the expanse of silence
The “Trace” project is a cultural project which examines the heritage value of the commemorative architectural objects from the socialist period in Bulgaria (1944-1989), for the purpose of integrating them in the social and cultural space of the contemporary city. The main issues center on the significance of these sites today and their potential as architectural and urbanistic works, cultural phenomena and constituents of the landscape.
Haunting public areas like ghosts, these sites are a measure of the wanderings in the dark of a society in search of the landmarks of its identity. The total lack of ideas for their future – reconstruction, demolition, etc. – is a patent illustration.
The House of the Bulgarian Communist Party (Architect : Georgi Stoilov - High : 107m) is the biggest ideological monument in Bulgaria. It is located on the mount Buzludzha (1441 m) in the Balkan Mountain. It was erected for the 90th anniversary of Buzludzha congress, where the Bulgarian Social-Democratic Workers' Party, the predecessor of the Bulgarian Communist Party, was founded.Military construction units and thousands of volunteers took part in the erection of the monument, and more than 60 leading Bulgarian artists had worked to complete the interior decoration. The Buzludzha star was 3 times bigger than the one in Kremlin. In 1991 the monument, which still belonged to the ex-communist party, was ceded to the state and was abandoned.
The Arch of Freedom, Beklemeto, 1978 (Architect : Georgi Stoilov. Sculptor : Velichko Minekov. Height : 35m) This monument was erected in order to pay tribute to the Russian Army as a liberator. It is located on the heighest place of the Troyan valley, in the Balkan mountains.
"1300 years of the Bulgarian State", Sofia, 1981 (Architect : Atanasse Agoura - Sculptor : Valentin Starchev - Hauteur : 35m.) The monument was erected for the 1300th anniversary of Bulgaria, and totally abandonned by the authorities after the political changes in 1989. On the occasion of the visit of the Pope Jean-Paul II in Bulgaria, in 2002, a debate was launched, whether to destroy it or to restaure it. Today, it is still waiting for restauration, and the final project is to paint it in orange.
Memorial "Stara Zagora defenders", Stara Zagora, 1977 (Architect : Boris Davidkov; Blagoi Valkov - Sculptor : Krum Damianov. Height : 45m) This monumental site was erected on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Stara Zagora battle, one of the major ones in the Russian-Ottoman war of 1877-1878.
Park Monument of the Bulgarian-Sovient friendship, Varna, 1978 (Architect: Kamen Goranov - Sculptors: Alyosha Kafedjiiski, Evgeni Barumov - Height: 23m) The monument of the Bulgarian-Soviet friendship was built on the Turna tepe hill. That was where the Russian forces command had its base before the successful attack on Varna during the Russian –Turkish War of 1828–1829. Constructed for 7 months with the help of 27 000 volunteers, the monument is made of 10 000 tons of concrete and 1000 tons of construction steel. More than 20 000 trees are planted in the area surrounding the monument. At night the 7th symphony of Shostakovich used to be played on the public announcement system in the park. The monument was illuminated by numerous spotlights, so it was visible from kilometers inside the sea. Soon after the fall of Communism, the monument was abandoned. Today the eternal flame has disappeared, just like the massive bronze letters from the inscription reading “Friendship for centuries throughout centuries”. The internal space of the monument, used for Communist party gatherings, is now used as a depot for used tyres.
Philippe Bazin's work was carried out during the summer of 2008 among Chechen refugees living in Polish shelters and retention centres. It is accompanied by the philosophical work that Christiane Vollaire presents in her text "The Middle of Nowhere". The photographs do not show the people, and the text does not present the places.