Rebecca Chesney

Rebecca Chesney

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.

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Left: Still from Still in Silence, 8 minutes duration
Filmed in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 featuring an interview with Gheorghe Popescu recorded on 07.05.13
Right: Installation view of Still in Silence at the Bluecoat, Liverpool 2013

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Photograph of Gheorghe Popescu’s grandmother Ileana (3) and her family in 1932

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Blackbird Turdus merula
Found in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 Latitude 47.052045, longitude 25.705605

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Left: Nails collected from abandoned houses in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 Latitude 47.052047, longitude 25.705606
Middle: 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
Right: Ceramic pieces collected from abandoned houses in Vadu Zbor on 02.05.13 Latitude 47.052049, longitude 25.705602


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