Before I die… | Plovdiv, Bulgaria

During this year’s edition of the Night of the museums and galleries in Plovdiv, I happened upon the “Before I die” project of artist Candy Chang, in which people can write down one thing they want to do, see and/or experience before they die – they do this in chalk on a large wall, which periodically gets wiped clean, so that the blanks can be filled by new people all over again.

This was all pretty exciting, especially as I had come across some of her other projects before and have been meaning to write about them for some time now.

I was especially fascinated with and loved her “You Make Me Feel So Mahtava” project, in which – just before she leaves Helsinki, she leaves stenciled notes to all her friends in front of the doors of their homes, on the streets and their favorite cafes, as “something they would see only after [she] was up in the clouds.”

Night(s) [and day] of museums and galleries | Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Last weekend, I went to Plovdiv for the 2010 edition of the Night of the museums and galleries. Unlike previous years, when the event took place over a single evening at the end of September or the beginning of October, this time the packed program stretched over two nights and encompassed an entire day.

Sometimes, distracted by the buzz of the crowds or my indecision of where to head next, I got disoriented in the darkness of the town’s old part or around the winding streets of its center.

I didn’t know whether to head East or South.

Every once in a while, I had to pause and consult the map.

But, even without it, the pavement was full of signs, and the patters on the streets and sidewalks always pointed to something else to see or somebody else to meet.

Some of the art I saw was intentional and some of it – accidental… but at all times, there were places to go, shows to see, friends to run into, strangers to observe.

Amid all the roaming around, the bathroom breaks proved almost as enlightening as the exhibitions. Some shared my obsession with pictures of feet on the ground, served as clichés to entertain the masses, while others made for contemporary works of art and confirmed stereotypes in a way that would have made David Černý smug.