Rainer Ganahl b. 1961
The Apprentice in the Sun - Bicycling Bucharest, Bucharest (2006)
2006, 22 min, color, sound
From the castle of Ceausescu - the former, fallen (executed) dictator of Romania built himself a phantasy castle which is now called the Parlament Palace - via the "bolshoij prospect / Grand Boulevard" to a gigantic Apartment block at the other side of this axial street and back again towards this idyosyncratic megalo-construction built in the 1980s, I ride the bicycle in the middle of the one way lanes against traffic, against and with the sun without holding the streering wheel.
The outcome of this rather dangerous enterprise (Do I have a death wish? or am I just an ecolo-political romantic/ rule-disobeyer) is a video of 22 minutes made for the Biennial of Bucharest. (2nd edition, though there was never a first edition keeping to the tradition of local surrealisms - yes there have been many, and some just read below: PS2)
The chosen path on the axis of Ceausescu's power translated into urbanism is quite extraordinary in its size and symetry in a city that didn't undergo a Hausmannisation program earlier. It not only comes with this big long and totally streight Avenue - called Bulevardul Unirii -, the delirious kitch palace (it is said to be the second biggest bulding in the world after the Pentagon) that combines domestic architecture with state grandeurism but also an anachronistic housing ring reserved for ministers, administrators and his securitade special police unite. The irony has it, that my host, the Bucharest Biennia,l puts me in such a nice appartment directly opposite the palace, with a stunning view. The apartment belongs today to a real estate firm by the name of RomVision (no, it is real and not internet related) that runs these units as upscale hotels.