I am excited to participate in the Goatmilk Festival for the third time. For me, this festival is a temporary and experimental utopian space where art serves to re/build community, to preserve collective memory, and to dream of alternative futures.
Through the workshops and the artcard dispatches, we will create tactile and tangible lines of connection among the participants, and between Bela Rechka and the world outside it. Why is this important?
Bela Rechka (meaning white river) was a well-known centre for traditionally-made goatmilk products before 1989. Now, there are no longer any goats and goatherds roaming the mountains that surround it. The post-communist changes led to migration of younger inhabitants to urban areas or abroad. Many houses are abandoned, and the median age of the remaining population is over 65.
Once a year, over course of the Alphabet holiday in Bulgaria, the festival brings a small group of artists and art lovers to the village in a community ritual to mark a space for remembering and rebuilding. Everybody contributes in some way, everything is volunteer-based, and attendance is free. There is no corporate branding and no media spectacles.
This small festival is a communal effort to make art that is transformative, addresses important issues and does not sell communities to corporations and institutions. Temporary and tenuous but tactile and tangible.