Boris Missirkov, Georgi Bogdanov

On the Tracks of the Bright Future

On the Tracks of the Bright Future
title: On the Tracks of the Bright Future
year: 2006
place: Sofia
publisher: Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia
ISBN/ISSN: 0861-1718
language: english
author(s): Boris MissirkovGeorgi Bogdanov
source: Visual Seminar. Resident Fellows Program 3: The Cliché – Memories, Images, Expectations, 2006, Sofia: Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia, ISBN: 0861-1718

Secretary I’d become,
Office I’d get,
It won’t be easy,
But I’ll be dizzy!
A pop-folk song refrain

The curious phenomenon which stroke us when focusing on the “cliché-identity” theme, was the total lack of a clear system of clichés in Bulgaria today. Its lack becomes even more evident compared to the well-organized cliché production-and-consumption systems such as the North-American culture, where movie cliché and reality overlap to the extent that it is not clear which one the original is. (We have witnessed such situations live – an American colonel in a NATO simulative training, who behaves like a ranger in a from a military movie scene, or an artist who ends up a working discussion with an accusatory speech in a trial-movie style. Compared to such orderly and thoroughly developed systems, our own identity resembles a mixed-up stack of clichés of various origin and various direction.

In Russian one of the synonyms for “cliché” is “common place”. It’s a straight-to-the-point definition – as far as every cliché is a representative concept for the notions, ideas, goals of a larger group. The critical mass of people, who would identify themselves with a certain idea or an expression and would start using them on a daily basis, is the factor that transforms the idea or the expression into a cliché.

Which are these common places here, today? Which are the zones where the ideas, goals and dreams of the majority of people meet? At the moment the two of us are not able to find – at least at first sight – many clichés, which are valid for the different spheres of life in Bulgaria. Political language or TV shows are among the few zones where the clichés can be easily identified, but they do not appear as an object of our interest. We are rather interested in the clichés that condition the behaviour, dress code, the dreams of the final consumer – “the man from the crowd”, “the average Bulgarian”, “the citizen”, etc. Pop-folk culture and its show business, for example, give a clue for the stable notions of beauty of the “average citizen”, but their plots are not so strongly related with everyday life – and we couldn’t say that pop-folk consumers represent the country’s population as a whole.

Dreams are the perfect zone, in which we can try to define the currently working cliches conditioning the identity of “the citizen”. Dreams inhabit the sphere of the ideal – and they do not depend on the rough reality. Dreams are something personal – though as a rule, they are amazingly repeatable. Given that they result from the basic notion of happiness, dreams’ core is formed by “simple and human” elements: home, family, work, kids...

In order to stay as much as possible in the sphere of the ideal, we intend to root our work on the project in the dreams of the people, who are still observers of life and not yet real participants in the situation – the high school students. 17-19 years are the age at which the notion of the surrounding world and the value system are already comparatively shaped, although they are based rather on other people’s experience than on your own life story – i.e. the “borrowed” notions of the world are accepted the way they are before the inevitable moment of disappointment and revaluation comes...

Asen, 17

My wife... she won't be very pretty, probably - it will be a marriage of convenience. 

What do you see in this picture?

I think this photograph shows the future. An eventually bright future. It embodies my dream and to some extent my ideal. An ideal of vision and lifestyle. I like it. What I see in the picture is maybe a bit different from what I am now, but I know I can be this man. Undoubtedly. I think I look quite different compared to my daily routine. This is an entirely new environment for me but I feel I fit to it perfectly well. The whiskey in the glass – I guess it would be Chivas Regal or perhaps Jack Daniels. It is quite difficult for me to imagine next to me the woman from that picture on the table. I don’t think I should be that egoistic – wishing she’d enter my world utterly, yet without letting myself into hers, at least to a certain extent. I haven’t changed my point of view and I do want to marry a rich woman. It might occur that I’ve become sort of a parasite in her world, but I believe that in the course of time I’d turn into something more valuable and I definitely don’t want to get anything if I don’t deserve it. I foresee this as an eventual start for me, not as the ultimate goal of my life. What I think of this picture is that one should experience everything in life - both luxury and misery.

 

Kamelia, 17

At the age of five and a half I already knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Now I will study criminal law. I love my job although I haven't started practicing it yet.

What do you see in this picture?

Probably I am disappointed. Perhaps of myself. Maybe it is too easy to get on top in the fastest way, without having noticed that you’ve changed in the meantime. For a moment you’ve had in for it too much, you think you are a big deal, and then the next moment comes when you simply fall down.
I think that if I really start practicing law, in order to avail of the good things, the advantages, I’d have to go through the problems. As this is the court, as soon as I leave the courtroom I would probably try to spend a nice evening. I would hardly think the past day over and over. The things just remain there. When one can no longer draw a distinct line between his professional and his personal life, when he or she piles up him- or herself with the others’ problems, then he loses himself – at least I think so. Yes, I would stay alone in the courtroom when everybody else’s left; yes, I‘d pass among the benches; yes, I’d strike balance whether this person should have gone to prison or not, or would this case have a positive outcome for the person or not. I’d draw a conclusion if the system is good or not. I’d decide whether the sacrifice was worth or not and was the victory a real victory.

 

 

Georgi, 17

I want to be a comedy actor –so that when people watch me on the stage they would forget reality for a couple of hours. I like the feeling before going out on stage – a peculiar feeling, as though butterflies are flitting in your stomach...

What do you see in this picture?

I expected something like that. It is probably some 40 minutes before the performance starts, in the very beginning of the evening. It is a last look at the stage before I go through my lines again and focus on my acting. A look at the hall when it is still empty, imagining how it would be. the moment just before the stage-fright appears. It is still the easy moment – I am calm and I think everything will be just perfect, before I start worrying. I am not afraid of the fact that the hall is empty. Actually it doesn’t matter how big it is. It is the people that frighten me. I would have liked this to be me. I strongly wish it could be me. I wouldn’t simply like it, I think it would be just great. After all, this is a dream and when you see it come true you are happy with that. If it were half an hour after show time and the hall were still empty, I wouldn’t have stayed there, I’d rather be somewhere else, angry about myself. Therefore I prefer imagining it the other way – positively. Acting itself seems to me a very positive experience. And you have to pass this positive feeling to the audience – that everything will be just fine, that everything will go on and it will be even better. You have to pass through your acting all these good feelings about the future to your audience. If I have already started thinking how terrible it will be, and no one is coming to the theatre and I sit alone here and my work makes no sense, then I’d be truly lost. And acting would be
meaningless.

 

Boryana, 18

When I am 80 I imagine myself as a tall old lady, with absolutely all her brains. A forest, an old house, simple furniture, white sheets surrounding me... the simplest wooden things.

What do you see in this picture?

Well, that’s me! If it were someone else, it would have been easier for me to imagine what his or her thoughts are... The person in this picture is doing something very strenuous and related to a lot of people. If I were this person I am positive that I would have always found time for places like this. In order to complete this idyll, there should be a bicycle somewhere in the picture – I’d do my every day shopping on it. The shop would be an old grocery from the socialist times with a few basic goods – bread and cheese and so on...
It is 6:30 a.m. in this photo.
If at this moment of my life there is a man beside me, he must be somewhere in the house doing something on his own. I wouldn’t put him here, in this photo.
Everything is very personal in this picture, but I can imagine there are 10 other people still sleeping in the house.
I am very curious to see if it will be exactly this way after many years.

 

 

Ivan, 21

I want to study acting at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts. Although it is hard to make a living on it, I think I was born a comedian (though I think I could play tragedy as well). I love to come into notice. I could also become a good director – an actor-director.

What do you see in this picture?

I see a serious guy, a film director. He is watching the screen, probably wants to see if he has done a good job so far. Right now he is thinking and I suppose he wouldn’t talk to anybody. When I look at him I get the feeling that he is good at his job.
A nice guy – handsome, young, with a several-day beard, well built.
Maybe he is shooting an action film. It doesn’t look like a comedy. From his expression I can see that this is a serious film. He is definitely shooting right now, I cannot say if it is between two episodes, but the people in the background are obviously in action.
Maybe this is his first movie, as this person is young, but I cannot claim it for sure just on the basis of this picture. I presume he is not a 100% certain about what he is doing but I can say for sure that he wants to voice himself. I see how he is looking at the screen. He obviously wants to make it good and the things to run smoothly because if the director doesn’t make a good movie he won’t be pleased with himself. Stubborn, yes, definitely. And I definitely look OK. I didn’t expect to look so well in these clothes. I like myself, I like the guy from the picture. I am satisfied with him. He is not selfish, but probably in this moment he won’t be able to take good care of his family. Because a film director doesn’t have much personal time. especially if this is his first film, he won’t be able to pay attention to his family. I think he is single, anyway. That’s what I feel.
I wanted somehow to feel how it is in the director’s chair and how the things exactly happen, and in this way to decide whether I like this or not. You gave me the opportunity for shooting in real time. I decided for myself whether I could do it or not. But I definitely liked it. And it doesn’t scare me.

 

Lyubomira, 17

I would like to deal with PR or advertising – I’d love to have plenty of people around. I dream of opening a café, to play my music there and have my friends visiting me. It’s all about job, the café is a dream...

What do you see in this picture?

Wow! This café rocks! I see an extremely serious person, almost bored. Impartially said, she looks very serious to me. I still haven’t had a graduation ball and I can’t be that serious! It is very empty around this person. I don’t know... people, who want to work with many other people, who like to be surrounded by a crowd, in the end are always threatened by some kind of emptiness around them. I feel sad now while looking at her. It must be more lively and more cheerfully! I didn’t imagine it like that.
Excitement should never stop, it should always be there and all lamps should be on. It would be nice to have lamplight.
This is the moment before I open the café. The candles haven’t been blown out, they even haven’t been lighted, they haven’t burned. Everything is always cooler in the beginning when you have the chance to change something.
Here I am thinking whether my friends would drop by in the café, or there will be only clients. It is clean – I like it. Obviously I have a lady cleaner, as I do not manage to keep that clean. It is 6:20 in the morning, just before opening and the people going to work are about to rush in. 6:20 is even late. It is rather 5 a.m..
I like everything, I’ll keep the interior like that. Except for the greater smile I’d put on my face – for a better start of my day. I like that there are flowers. We should keep ourselves closer to the Nature, philosophically said. I like it.

 

Slavi, 18

In 20 years I see myself behind an enormous desk, with a very stylish suit and looking authoritatively through my glasses. I will have only few employees, but very good ones. There will be a Jacuzzi for six people in the house, for my friends. Outside there will be a large yard, a swimming pool, 8x20 m, and stables with five horses. I will even get a little doe and two dogs.

What do you see in this picture?

From his look it is obvious that this guy is successful. He’s made it somehow. He’s had the opportunity and he has taken it. He hasn’t given up himself to foolish things, he’s rather grabbed his goal. A little haughtiness is observed probably because of the fact that he has reached success. Maybe he is quite tired because his success was accompanied with many obstacles, but these are momentary feelings. He is a lawyer or maybe a politician, eventually a man of a state power.
In this photo I see my dreams fulfilled to a great extent, the problem is whether they will be fulfilled in this way or to such an extent. The only thing that bothers me is that this person looks somehow tired to me. If this would be me after 10-15 years, I’d probably look happier because I would have fulfilled my dreams.
The house eventually will be the only house on this piece of land and there will be no neighbours nearby. If I were a successful man indeed, perhaps I would have a nice car, a big one, a Mercedes eventually.
There are also things that I don’t like in the picture. The house of my dreams is much bigger, maybe two or three times bigger than the one in front of which I was photographed here. This is because of the fact that I want a bigger inner space for me, I mean that everything should look calmer inside, it shouldn’t be overburdened with furniture; the interior shouldn’t make me choke. And I also imagine it with a larger yard with a verdant garden and a lot of animals.
I wouldn’t be ashamed of this photograph being my public image after a time. I would even be very pleased. When I look at this photo I could estimate my fortune to a couple of million, up to 4 million Euro on the average.

 

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