Scene from Public Address from LIVE Vancouver 2013, photo Juergen Fritz,
Public Address is an ongoing project initiated by Leannej and My Name Is Scot, which was exhibited in Sofia, Bulgaria at the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate. Public Address was curated by Biliana Velkova and Yana Kostova and featured text based work from Bulgarian based artists. The project was initiated during Leannej and My Name Is Scot’s two-month stay at the Sofia Art Residency in Sofia, which coincided with the first anniversary of the almost year-long public protests against government corruption in Bulgaria.
Books and Zines by Bulgarian and International Artists
Public Address explores notions of activism, authority and the ways and means of disseminating public and private messages. As part of the project, Leannej and My Name Is Scot collected zines and artist books by Bulgarian writers and artists, which they will be presenting for the Vancouver Art Book Fair. Featured artists include Sevda Semer, Alla Georgieva, Biliana Velkova, Steven Guermeur, Kiril Prashkov, Lazar Lyutakov, Voin de Voin, artists from the Bulgarian Queer Forum, and Blood Becomes Water.
New Book Monument by Leannej and My Name is Scot
Cover image from Monument by My Name Is Scot.
During the Vancouver Art Book Fair, Leannej and My Name Is Scot will also be launching their new book, Monument, published by Publication Studios in Vancouver. Monument features images made by My Name Is Scot and texts written by Leannej, chronicling their two months of living and working in Bulgaria. The texts and images from Monument were initially featured on the Geist.com blog, Postcards From Sofia.
On Friday, I found myself standing in a grocery store, I was holding a mango. I had no idea why I was holding a mango. I didn’t even know why I was in the store. To make matters worse, I confided all this to the mango. When it occurred to me that 1. I was inexplicably holding a mango and 2. talking to it. I put the mango back and slunk out of the store.
That’s what stress does to me. It makes me get a little absent. My dad was like that. He would get very distant whenever he went outside his element. On him it looked charming. (He had an absent minded professor air about him.) Judging from the looks of the other shoppers who witnessed me talking to the mango, I don’t think I pulled it off as well as he did.
The mango incident occurred four days before I was to leave for a six-week stay at the Sofia Art Residency in Bulgaria. I get a little more distant as the departure date approaches. Some people get excited and engaged when they plan a big trip. I am not one of them. I would like to be a seasoned traveller, like those people you read in the pages of travel magazines. Or even my twenty-year-old niece who went on her own and partied her way through Australia and South East Asia. I have to force myself to travel. I know it is good for me, but I am always a little bit afraid. I am not sure why Scot travels with me. He keeps telling me “You are getting so much better.” He says it so earnestly that I can’t get mad at him.
There has been so much preparation before leaving for this residency. I have held it together long enough to get most of the things I needed done. There was making the work to show at the Red House for Culture and Debate in Sofia. Subletting my apartment. Writing travel grants. When we lined up the residency, I had hoped I would learn some Bulgarian before I left. Or at least mastered the cyrillic alphabet. Instead, I downloaded a dodgy looking language app that has only a few useful phrases for food, money and dating. So here I find myself days away from leaving for Bulgaria, and all I can say in Bulgarian is “beer,” “how much?,” and “I am a dolphin trainer.”
A still from the video, “Human Identification at a Distance”
The Activist says,
“I heard about a boy. The boy picked a flower and gave it to his mother. At first, he was happy, because by giving her this gift he had made her happy. But later, when he saw the flower wilting in a glass of water, he began to wonder, ‘If the flower dies, will I die?’”
We had to put up the “Dogs Locked in for Filming” sign a few times in the past month. We have been frantically trying to get the footage we need for our exhibition at The Red House for Culture and Debate in Sofia, but between the weather and the dogs, it has been a little trying. There have been only a handful of sunny days in the past month. And the dogs, it seems, want to break into show biz. But we have persevered. We are now just at a week away from leaving. We have sublet our apartment and captured the video footage we needed. We are just waiting for a quiet day in order to get the sound down.
Here’s hoping that we will have a couple sunny days between now and our departure date!
I cannot believe how fast the last 42 days have gone. This is makes me a little nervous, as I now have less time than I thought I had. There is still lots to do!
I also better get my Bulgarian Dictionary and phrase books. I had hoped to have learned some Bulgarian, but so far I can order beer and say thank you.
According to the TripAdvisor there are exactly 112 things to do in Sofia. I wonder if I will have time to do all 112 things. I wonder how many things there are to do in Vancouver? Hopefully, there is a similarly large and odd number of options.
Anyway according the the website:
“Surrounded by sprawling parkland, Sofia, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, lies at the foot of popular ski mountain, Vitosha. With a history that stretches over seven millennia, ruin-rich Sofia is one of Europe’s oldest cities. The National Historical Museum is one of Eastern Europe’s most extensive. Wide, cobblestone boulevards, charming boutiques and truly electrifying nightlife star in this city of 1.3 million. Trolleys, trams and buses traverse the dynamic city.”
I hope when I die that I don’t have to come back as a travel writer. I do love the phrase “ruin-rich Sofia.”
In 72 days, I will be heading to Sofia Bulgaria for an artist residency. The residency was founded by Biliana Velkova. I will be going with My Name is Scot where we will be working on a series of work … Continue reading →