The programme will present 10 projects by artists from Poland, Czech Republic, Israel, USA, Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria as well as meetings and discussions with artists and cultural experts. The locations for these events will be alternative, historical, archaeological public and private spaces emblematic for the city of Plovdiv.
The project deals with the topic of rituals and habits as indicators for deep-seated practices in society, which is a key to understanding the mechanisms driving the mass psychology and the chances for social change in collective practices.
“Rituals of the Habitual” is a project that takes in various locations of Plovdiv’s urban environment seeking to overcome the challenges presented by the visual public setting. It is an effort that pursues an immediate contact with audiences outside the traditional art spaces.
The centre of the exhibition are the rituals of the habitual: the default choices that we take as acceptable, moral or modern, and the norm, set by consensus, we tend to abide by. Habits take up the greater portion of our lives; they are the near-mechanical actions we perform every day. Partially immersed in the unconscious, in routine and in cultural tradition, habits move constantly, repeating models of behaviour that satisfy the need for balance; they fight off dynamics and change. Subject to religious rites, prejudice, superstitions and various social practices, the rituals of the habitual function inseparably, they go as far as confounding both logic and expediency. Although rooted in atavistic forces, our habits are heavily modified by the modern way of life and exist as a response to the striving of the spirit to define itself against economically and socially set limitations.
The public environment constantly challenges us with new conditions and changes. These affect our collective habits about ecology, economy, life in public spaces and the rules of security. In the mesh of relationships we need to regulate, the traditional attitudes turn out to be the most difficult to untangle.
On their part, in the realms of communication and art, the visual habits impose a filter of perception and hold down its boundaries in our capacity to welcome the new and then to adopt it. Habits credit the familiar and the predictable in favour of the novel.
This project aims at shifting the attention from the potential projections of change to the pre-rational moments in the collective and personal realities; those remnants of older forms of collective organisation into contemporary forms as a key towards the necessity for stability or the possibility or the opportunity for a change of the habits of perception. The subject of interest in the exhibition are the cultural and collective habits as they live in the form of a shared territory between individuals operating in a special regime of communication. The project seeks situations in which the seeming inevitability of the everyday cracks open, ritual morphs into something new, and choice takes precedence to habit.
Vera Mlechevska is a freelance critic and curator based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated in Art History in the National Academy of Art in Sofia and Konstfack University, Stockholm. She is co-founder of Art Affairs and Documents foundation and co-editor of Blistermagazine.com –independent platform for contemporary arts and critique. In her practice as a critic she has contributed to various periodicals and curated exhibition examine for the interaction of art and society such as Transgeressions at Credo Bonum gallery, The End and Beyond at CCA Ancient Bath, Plovdiv and Handle with care at Unicredit Studio – Milan.
Museo Aero Solar (international), Democracia (Madrid), Richard Loskot (Ústí nad Labem), Janek Simon (Krakow), Ivo Dimchev (Amsterdam), Dimityr Solakov (Sofia), Lubri (Sofia), Complaints Choir (international), Hera Buyukcesyan (Istanbul), Mary Mazziotti (Pittsburgh), Ariel Reichman (Berlin), Martin Penev (Stara Zagora), Zornica Halacheva (Stara Zagora)