still in silence
bluecoat, liverpool. 2013

In spring 2013 I travelled to the Carpathian Mountains in Romania to try and locate the long abandoned village of Vadu Zbor. During the trip I also traced and interviewed one of the only surviving descendants from the village, Gheorghe Popescu.

Ileana, the grandmother of Gheorghe Popescu, was born and lived in Vadu Zbor until 1933. When she was ten years old she remembered how, on one day in the summer, thousands of birds swarmed all over the village. She then described how overnight they all completely disappeared: plunging the village into silence. So disturbing was this absence of bird song, the entire population of the village, along with Ileana and her family, packed their belongings and abandoned their homes never to return. The village remains in silence to this day.

vadu03
Video still from Still in Silence
Digital video, 2013. 8 mins
Filmed in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 featuring an interview with Gheorghe Popescu
recorded on 07.05.13
Watch Still in Silence on Vimeo

bluecoat installation 02
Installation view of Still in Silence

chesney blackbird
Blackbird Turdus merula
Found in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 Latitude 47.052045, longitude 25.705605
(photograph Gavin Renshaw)


nails01
Nails collected from abandoned houses in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13
Latitude 47.052047, longitude 25.705606


ceramics 01
Ceramic pieces collected from abandoned houses in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13
Latitude 47.052049, longitude 25.705602


sewing01
Embroidery by Ileana Vaduva, grandmother of Gheorghe Popescu.
Completed when she was 10 years old in 1933. A good example of the bird motifs traditional to the local area of Vadu Zbor. It is thought the dots above the birds signify the notes of a bird song


family01
Photograph of Gheorghe Popescu’s grandmother Ileana (3) and her family in 1932
borsec people copy
1: Ana Vaduva (Gheorghe Popescu’s great-grandmother)
2: Iulia (sister of Ana Vaduva)
3: Ileana Vaduva (Gheorghe Popescu’s grandmother)
4: Stefan Vaduva (Gheorghe Popescu’s great-grandfather)
5: Elena (sister of Ana Vaduva)
6: Nicolae (husband of Elena)
7 - 14: Unknown
15: Ionica Vaduva (Gheorghe Popescu’s great-uncle)
16 – 18: Unknown

gallery shot 02
Installation view of wall mounted cabinet containing collected objects from Vadu Zbor

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