Archive of Abandoned Dreams: new files

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If you are waiting to hear how the review went, it hasn’t come yet. It kept getting postponed, which is great for my worrywart soul but also prolongs the anxiety. Anyway, the project that has taken the most of my time is The Archive. As the best form of presentation, I decided to make an actual antique binder, covered with dark green cloth with metal corners and the photographs would be filed inside, stitched with thread.

If you have been following my blog you know that the Archive of Abandoned Dreams is based on the poetry of Dimcho Debelyanov, a Bulgarian symbolist who, after a brief life as a literature student and then clerk (in order to support his family after the death of his father), volunteered for World War I and was killed in a battle with an Irish division. The irony of his life, in which his forced choices were made against his worldview and beliefs points so well to the aesthetics of symbolists, who relished in the impossibility of communication and forged a code of metaphors that distanced them instead of bringing them closer to readers. Debelyanov himself lamented the impossibility of his dreams but then abandoned them willfully with a very symbolic gesture. This way of relating has so much to do with contemporary culture: a world of facebook mirages in which participants create willful representations of their lives that seem more compelling when ambiguous. 

It is the reason I needed an actual file. Archives, as per the definition, are collections of records that are produced not specifically with the goal of preservation but in the course of  normal activity (business, social, legal) and as such are not necessarily made to last. But once collected, it’s a deliberate effort to preserve them. An archive is a contradiction of intentions between the ephemerality of life and the effort to stop it and keep it frozen forever  for as long as possible. Dreams, a peculiar form of ephemerality, are an especially interesting case. And the use of photography as the medium for recording the ephemeral is congruent.  Look at it as an account, in both senses, a symbolic act of accounting of a flow of life that has been revised and redirected yet surreptitiously kept on file as it was.

For now the images themselves are to be printed digitally on ledger paper, as real accounting would be, but I am thinking of ways in which to make vandyke prints on that kind of paper. Contemporary ledger is not very sturdy and I can’t possibly print a ledger design on inkjet and then coat and print and wash vandyke.

Thank you so much to the friends who helped me accumulate these images!

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2 responses to “Archive of Abandoned Dreams: new files

  1. Very evocative imagery. I would love to see more of your translations of his poetry though.

  2. Thank you, Nasser. Translating the poetry would be a big task for me though 🙂

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