Excerpt from the text by Luchezar Boyadjiev:
A twofold terminological apparition has been stalking in the life of Bulgarian society for the last decade. This same apparition is constantly present at the debates organized by the Visual seminar project as well. Being a symptom both of the opening and democratization of this society, and of its attempts to cope with the increasing dynamics of the country’s integration into a globalizing world, this apparition is a terminological, conceptually substantive and linguistic problem. The pair of English words in question is “public” and “private”, terms that have become part of contemporary life, and yet neither of them seems to have been allocated an adequate rendition in Bulgarian. Probably the whole range of ideas and practices that we try to cover when using this pair is still a “hot area” of self-reflection that is more or less cognitively realised in our society. Probably we have not reached the required minimum of experience and expertise that will afford the formation of a stable consensus on the use of the terms. Probably our society is going through a process, among many other processes, of exploring its own thresholds of tolerance or, more precisely, of the boundaries between the above two spheres in the life of the individual and the community. Discussing all these issues is what the forthcoming Visual seminar debate aims at.
Previous debates in the context of the Visual seminar have shown that the use of “public” often refers to either “state-owned” or “urban”, but rarely to “communal” especially when used with regard to the city. At the same time, there is serious hesitation about “private” does it mean “privately owned” or “personal”? By the way, in Bulgarian as well as in other Slavonic languages there is no exact equivalent of the English word “privacy” implying, for example, the right to a certain inviolability of the person, a sense of personal space in terms of one’s life and property. But this is a problem of a different order. The range of issues that we put forward for this debate are: Where does the boundary of tolerance lie? What is acceptable and what is unacceptable within “communal” space from the point of view of “private” interest, and vice versa? Where does the boundary lie between the communal and the private, or between the public and the personal? How is it defined and by whom? What are the conditions of “entry” when crossing this boundary? The risks and challenges? The sanctions? The regulation? Are these possible, from what kind of positions and with what mandate?