Über Namen © Stefania Smolkina
Every person is registered in the world in a combination of words and sounds. The name acts as a matter of course, but in its meaning it appears both omnipresent and infinitely changeable. Names indicate affiliation and origin. Names are also part of a civil contract between a population and a state.
The Web Art project deals with the forced name changes in socialist Bulgaria in the winter of 1984-85, during which all representatives of the Turkish minority living there were forced to “bulgarize” their names. Even the names on tombstones have been changed or destroyed. The narration and presentation about the other groups of people plays a major role in triggering such processes and then justifying them. There are several aspects in the events that interest me: it deals with automatic assimilation and exclusion through name change, the confrontation between man and the socialist state, and it is about processes of individual remembrance of a collective event.
Today the retired sculptures of socialist functionaries Rest in a sculpture park. Over time, the engraved names on the gravestones in cemeteries become illegible. The gaps in the story are getting bigger. In search of their traces in the present, the camera goes to different places and associative spaces. The story is implied, and so is the impossibility of it’s fully understanding.
The development of the prototype of the project took place during the werkleitz Professional Media Master Class 2018/2019.