Bright Future

Idea

A project by Nagledna (Raycho Stanev, Radomir Dankov, Evgeni Bogdanov) together with Georgi Dimitrov, Kiril Zlatkov, Poststudio, Bannerjiinica and many other friends.

Using various letters from old neon signs, made for shops, confectioneries and cafes, we at Nagledna write again well known slogans from the near future. We update them not by alternating the words but by replacing the fonts. Thus, changing each letter’s function, we write political advertisements via fonts designed for flower, lingerie or sweet shops, grocery stores, etc. We’re interested in the relation between the font and the message written in it. Handmade outdoor advertising signs from socialist time have lost their function and little by little disappear off the face of Bulgarian towns. They are graphological cultural heritage of our country and selected copies should be preserved, even as a basis for creating a new, substantive image of the Cyrillic alphabet in the typical Bulgarian style. Looking at these neon signs, we try to ignore their content and perceive them as organized visual noise.

I grew up in anticipation of the bright communist future that would solve all of our problems. Just a small step was to be taken. Another ten years and we’d move from socialism to fair communism. I remember the day when I shared with my mother the news me and my classmates had learnt from our tutor at school. And what a disappointment it was to find out the same had been promised to her thirty years earlier… and the Bright Future had to be our Present long ago. I’m from the generation with childhood spent in the socialism but matured in the so called democratic transition. Most of the clichéd slogans are like a part of my child’s games.

More than twenty years after 1989 these advertising slogans reappear again and again with the help of sentimental retro nostalgia and the political parties’ publicity becomes successful easier that way.

It’s unbelievable how many people expect to hear the same hollow words and promises and the Bright Future is once again a keyword in today’s political speeches.

Raycho Stanev

Letters

Nowadays we don’t see much of the old, hand-made signboards from the days of socialism – they have lost their purpose and are slowly disappearing throughout all Bulgarian cities. These signboards represent a graphological heritage of Bulgarian culture and selected samples of them should be preserved, maybe as a basis for creating a new, original model of the Cyrillic alphabet in its typical for Bulgaria handwriting pattern.

Activities

  • "Prolet" (Spring) - series of calligraphy workshops in Goethe-Institut, hosted by Kiril Zlatkov, and restoration of the old signboard "Prolet" of a lingerie shop in the town of Kardjali
  • Workshop “Manufactory Advertising” – restoration and manufacture of lamps from restored neon letters, discussion about original fonts from socialist times
  • “Bright Future” – writing this popular phrase in real old neon letters and installing it on the facade of the National Palace of Culture, with glowing neon, as a part of the international festival of contemporary art Sofia Contemporary (19 October - 9 November 2012)

Posters

Political slogans have always been written in block fonts, clear, thick and plain, pursuing the policy of socialist reality. This seeming seriousness tries to cover the ideological nonsense. Playing on commercial signs’ free fonts from those days, we take off the seriousness and expose those slogans’ nonsense, pointing out its attempt to manifest again on the political scene today.

12 posters with political slogans will be published in 12 issues of the daily newspaper "24 Hours", during the first edition of Sofia Contemporary, a festival of contemporary art (19 October - 9 November 2012).

Movie

A documentary by Evgeni Bogdanov