In Search of Places Lost

Between 1945 and 1989 the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, part of the East-European Socialist Bloc, undertook the construction of public parks and amusement complexes for the working class. These structures were once built with a sweeping determination for a future that never materialised. The promise of a classless communist utopia operated with a vast horizon of a planetary communal futurity, where scale sealed the certainty in a deterministic line of progression and projected the vision of accessible and disciplined sociality. 1989 interrupted the trajectory of this imagined future and with this interruption, the temporalities of infrastructural developments and relations shifted into the unstable terms of public procurement contracts that banked the accumulations of the past into fungible futures.

We reflect on how artistic exploration can provide an outlet to engaging with loss and trauma in the post-socialist urban landscape. The focus on loss opens the space for a critical interrogation of the possibilities of reclaiming an affective infrastructural commonality of joy, leisure, and recreation beyond the consumerist spaces of the capitalist city.