Deep daydream-reality: The Opening Scene
Natalia Jordanova
21 February- 26 March, 2023 г.


Реалност на дълбоко съновидение: Откриваща сцена (Deep daydream-reality: The Opening Scene) is Natalia Jordanova’s first solo institutional exhibition. The artist creates an audio-visual installation which explores the idea of myth in cinema, memory and the potential of artificial intelligence and technological imagination in the process of historical continuity.

Through her interdisciplinary approach, Natalia considers the medium of the installation as a “cinematic situation”. The project speculates on possible narratives by engaging multiple voices and moving between different perspectives and worlds – human, technological and animal. The fantastic and the interpretation of myth are made possible through the form and language of cinema. They are both past knowledge and a model and structure for constructing a film work in the present.

Passing behind the entrance curtain, we encounter a speculative environment in which the author explores the possibilities of a world where human is not at the centre. Natalia uses her subjective expanded notion of cinema as an approach to constructing her work, which exists as a film in space. Thus, she creates a territory of continuity between images, concepts and sensations that belong not only to the human but also to the machine and the animal.
Binka Zhelyazkova’s films are the basis of the project and its main motivating force, and the creative concept is based on the approach to its realisation. In this process, the author explores the possibility of intergenerational dialogue through the use of new media. In a multi-channel video installation, she presents films created by training artificial intelligence models with the director’s opening scenes from the movies. The algorithm has learned from them and shows us a new technological perspective as a tribute to her practice and memory. Although Binka Zhelyazkova’s contribution to Bulgarian cinema is significant and acknowledged as the first female director of feature films in Bulgaria, her movies were not bypassed by the regime’s censorship. Nevertheless, she has continued to create worlds that provoke and seek change in the surrounding reality.

The newly created moving images in Deep daydream-reality: The Opening Scene carry within them the speculative idea of films from the future. The synthesised image merges the man-made and the machine-made. This methodology raises questions about the nature and future of cinema and the place of humans in dialogue with technology. As a counterpoint to the film created in collaboration with a machine, Natalia chooses Penka Kouneva, one of the nine female film music composers in Hollywood, as the author of the music. Another essential character in the work’s narrative is the donkey, the protagonist in Binka Zhelyazkova’s „The Tied-Up Balloon”. Natalia organises a film screening at a donkey farm, shows them the films she creates using artificial intelligence, films them, and brings that moment back into the exhibition. With this gesture, she integrates a perception other than human and questions the relationship and necessity of spectacle, culture and nature.

The experience is a non-linear montage of moving images, sounds, images and objects. A parallel is drawn between the time in which the work exists in space, the time in which the audience encounters it, the compressed time of cinema and the historical time in which Binka Zhelyazkova’s movies lived. This configuration between the elements allows the installation to exist as a hybrid ecosystem that includes the archive as a historical artefact, the computer algorithm as a creative tool, the music as human intervention and the animal as an alternative point of view.
Through a historical, technological and artistic framework, Natalia questions what it is to be human today in the interaction between natural and artificial beings, human and non-human agents. Without making a subjective assessment, Реалност на дълбоко съновидение: Откриваща сцена (Deep daydream-reality: The Opening Scene) dissolves the boundaries between body, machine and nature, tying them together in a continuously evolving ecosystem.

The project is part of the Cultural Perspectives Foundation’s „Per Aspera ad Astra ” Fellowship Program in partnership with the SGHG.