29.03.2023 - 02.04.2023

A project by  Maria Silvestar, Simeon Markov and Kalin Serapionov,

At the beginning of her career during the broadcast of two now non-existent television channels (TV7 and TV2), Maria Silvestar goes out on the streets and sets the beginning of a series of reports that concentrates on the outcast people of our society. She approaches these people with the care of a voyeur who is desperately trying to keep the subject of their observation as distant and indestructible as possible. The interviewed people do not preach but rather share their truths, realities with peculiar calmness. They become an alternative to the public speaking, Maria herself can be viewed as an alternative to the moralizing manner of journalism in Bulgaria.

‘I did not want to become a journalist and I believe that I do not completely belong to this sector. I am something else, it is unknown what exactly. This is close to the way we cannot define the genre of the videos which diversified the big TV shows as a rubric.’

These reports could be situated on the border between the journalistic, the artistic and the political. They could be attributed to the conception of Gonzo journalism as well as to the tradition of social experiment. The naive task of this project is to name these attempts so as to universalize them as a journalistic or an artistic principle.

Paradox is a compulsory condition and an irrevocable proviso for each and every part of the videos; the scene where each act is developed, played. It is due to these factors that it is impossible to think of the videos as part of the specifics of one concept only. No, a system of images, which contemplates reality, should be created around the materials. This is actually not a retrospective aventurine but an opportunity to reorganize perceptions – both the personal and the public ones.

‘Two are the most important things when it comes to speaking with people: who is asking and who is the one being asked. I was afraid from them both. This is a process that is internal and external. The process uses the body as a tool, it becomes a histrionic image so as to make the body find a space that presents various ways of communication. Then the camera is unnoticeably transformed into a mirror. Regardless of who is asking what.’

The video installation comprises 3 separate projections with common sound design, created using only the original manipulated sounds of the videos, by Angel Simitchiev. MO! is the natural sequel of the experimental work with Maria Silvestar’s personal archive. The attitude towards the authentic videos is subjective but also documentary. The materials present a parody of the chaos that is part of the actual order, they make the viewer question the narratives. Rethought are the opportunities for a new comprehension of the reports by literally placing them in a staged environment – simulation of a work process and work work aesthetic; analysis of the reports outside the TV context, in social media and platforms, situating them in the context of a contemporary art gallery. Maria’s media image is deconstructed. The idea can be found in the process of transition from ‘media’ to medium and from ‘medium’ to media – a transformation that goes from one media to another.

The project’s title cites one of the most well-known reports of Silvestar’s in which a person passing by, interrupts the recording and enragedly says, ‘MO!’. This seems to be the reaction of the surrounding world, an untranslatable exclamation that has become a synonym for the paradoxical, an illustration of absurd; the breaking point where borders are being erased – some hope to accept and realize even the unthinkable.

‘We never came to understand what MO! is and it slowly became a sort of symbol for these particular life situations, the absurd ones. Without explanation. At loss of logic. MO! or whatever…’

Maria Silvestar expresses her sincere gratitude towards Vanya Nikolova, Miroslav Dimitrov, Krasimir Nikolov – Stambini, Mariela Gemisheva, Koko Krastev, Dr. Konstantinos Pagidas and Maria Vassileva.