In spring 2011 I conducted - what seemed at that point - a fairly easy experiment. I had a slight feeling that if not everything was better back in the 80s, at least time was. Time was there plenty. Like space. I did some questioning and interviews while I already had decided that I'd switch off my mobile and quit the interneting. Afterwards I came up with this instruction on how to travel time which describes my approaches to reach a feeling of 80's in socialist Bulgaria, now. Or better: How to project the past in the future, extending the present.
- no, I’m sorry, I don’t have phone nor e-mail, I’m living in the 80’s.
how to travel in time
Sometimes being a good contemporary calls for uncontemporary acts. Too much commitment to your own times makes you dependent of them.
Here is a proposal on how to stretch time:
You are in the 80’s of socialist Bulgaria. You are lucky. As there is no money, there is no time. No time you can loose but time you can bend. We do not regard political circumtances. We only do one thing: change your use of media. First of all, switch off your mobile phone - it is suggested to leave a message on your mailbox about what’s
going on (or you might loose a couple of friends like I did) + enable your e-mail for the duration of the time travel. You are allowed to write letters and use your phone at home. If you happen to have a TV, take away the receiver. In socialist 80’s you were fast forward if you had a TV which aired two channels. Get yourself a tape player and some tapes. Surely you will not want to listen to the radio as it aires only bad euro-trance or advertisements these days. It might feel a little weird being totally
unarmed out there on the street. I caught myself for weeks grasping for my non existent phone in my pocket. The feeling of disconnection shall soon evaporate.
Not having much choices weirdly enough takes away a lot of confusion. So you can lead
your life, just lead it well. Try to have lunch with your colleagues or group of peers. You can’t have any other short-notice appointments anyway because there’s no sms you can write. Go with the flow. No shopping after 6 pm, shops are closed. Take a bottle of something on your way home (if you don’t have any) like Campari, Peppermint, Prosecco
and drink an apperitf with your partner, best friend, friends on your balcony or in your garden. You gotta try to meet offline. How hard it can be to get a date with someone without using the internet, that might turn out as a surprise. Actually you might end up in the library a lot. Without your huge accessorize the comp and the net you will find it a real time journey to gather information. What you cannot get or manage today, you can try again tomorrow. You won’t be able to stress others nor
the other way around - now with your widened understanding of time.
tried by Petja Ivanova, Adriane Lombardi, Anton Nesretiep in 2011
suggested duration 1-2 months during spring or summer
In ideal and friendly Socialism of the 80’s it was common to go to the cinema once a week, when there would be a new movie screened. It was preffered to watch french features. Read Remarque or any American writer like Irving or Kerouac. Make your friends read the same things. That would be normal as there isn’t anything more extraordinary
available and everyone is just thrilled when the latest book is finally available. Don’t forget: there is no time you can loose. Homemade things are on the list. Collect berries or other things from nature and make juices or compots, preserve. If you can, go to the countryside in the weekend, hang out with family and friends and have some drinks in the
shade. It is suggested to develop the skill of bread-making, gardening or farming. Take the time to have a nap in the afternoon. Find a hobby you can do by yourself in the evening like pottery or sewing or fixing things. Eventually, have a baby, start a family.