(b. Florești, Moldova; lives and works in Chișinău)
Video, 27’ 15”
Courtesy of the artist
Between 2006 and 2011, Ghenadie Popescu took several trips across Moldova on foot and by bicycle, navigating land and rivers. Choosing slower ways to travel is an important tool for an artist who has decided to explore the intricacies of what constitutes national identity. This video, composed of a long sequence of still images unified by the sound of the artist blowing a whistle, is from a twelve-day trip Popescu made from the north to the south of the country, taking with him only a red and a blue raffia bag on a yellow wheelbarrow (the three colors of the Moldovan flag). The images seem to flicker too rapidly at first, and only around the fourth minute does the journey really begin (as if we have finally caught up with his pace). Occasionally it slows down and some of the images linger a bit longer, especially of children, perhaps marking moments of rest, of socialization or an occasion to grasp the landscape in front of him. Several times we hear excerpts from conversations Popescu has had along the way. We learn that there was heavy rain at one stage of the trip; we hear stories about the Moldovan mentality of judging and watching the other, of migrant work experience in Italy, of the privileges of silence and sobriety in a society that is very quick to label the other.
Throughout the trip we seldom see the artist himself, only in the shadow of his silhouette or reflected in a window and in the few selfie shots near the end. And yet we are presented with everything that he could call “mine,” as the title of the series suggests, starting from the earth beneath his feet to the wheelbarrow, to the fields, the rivers, and garbage pits, and to the experiences and memories from conversations, children, and animals along the way. Because “mine,” unlike “my,” is always used without a noun following it.