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Roots or Routes?

On the closing weekend of Brighton Photo Fringe 2018, Revolv delivered and facilitated the workshop Roots or Routes?, questioning what constitutes home and our sense of belonging. The intervention stemmed up and was a continuation of the latest work of the artists Krasimira Butseva and Lina Ivanova – 4UZHBINA. The workshop became an extension to the enquiry into the artists’ own background, inviting the public to reflect on their origins and journeys.

All the participants were required to bring objects or memories that reminded them of home in order to take part. The workshop took place on a traditional Bulgarian rug, at Phoenix Brighton in the Collective’s Hub. The founders of Revolv contributed with personal possessions and collaborated with the participants. Starting with a series of questions on background and identity, everyone had to write a short piece to present themselves to the group but also fulfil the first creative steps.

Roots or Routes? became simultaneously the creation of a zine, but also an alternative version of therapy as everybody shared personal, traumatic or intimate stories which they carried through the places visited, lived and raised in. The memories entangled together and created a collective idea of home described as a ‘’warm feeling and place’’, ‘’where it’s sunny most of the time’’. For others ‘’home is whenever I am welcomed’’ and ‘’home is being able to notice the sea from every angle of the city’’ as well as the feeling of ‘’right to be here’’ , ‘’and often just seconds of time – reminders like smell or taste’’.

The next process of the workshop involved working with the objects, photographs and stories brought on the day. Everyone had to select somebody else’s narrative and work with it instead of creating something from their own thoughts and possessions. The participants began creating individually but also in pairs, while conversations were unfolding and the notions of home were expanded. Appropriating work that was on show at Phoenix Brighton, using each other’s images, creating sculptures and writing short memories were some of the activities that took place and resulted in the collaborative zine.

Having heard each other’s personal experiences, in relation to background and identity the participants felt familiar and understanding of each other’s pasts. The zine was then installed as a part of 4UZHBINA and left there for last two days of the festival, as the work created enriched the series and continued them further.