the neighbours

bulgarian pavilion at the 60th venice art biennale



@ Sala Tiziano at the Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli Fondamenta Delle Zattere Ai Gesuiti 919, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

the team 

Krasimira Butseva

Krasimira Butseva is a visual artist and researcher based in Sofia and London. She is a Senior Lecturer at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. In her creative and academic practice, Butseva works with trauma, memory, political violence, official and unofficial history, whilst employing video, sound, photography and installation as mediums. She has taken part in solo and group exhibitions in London, Brighton, Ipswich, Portsmouth, Gosport, Pingyao, Sofia, Plovdiv, Lovech, Cape Town, Kyiv, Belgrade, Berlin, and Stuttgart.

Lilia Topouzova

Dr. Lilia Topouzova is an Assistant Professor of History and Creative Nonfiction at the University of Toronto. She is a scholar and a documentary filmmaker whose work is situated at the intersection of history and memory. Her writing has appeared in the American Historical Review, Gender & History, The Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place, the Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, the Journal of Visual Literacy and The European Review of Books. Topouzova was the scriptwriter of the documentary films The Mosquito Problem & Other Stories (2007) and Saturnia (2012), which she also co-directed. 

Julian Chehirian

Julian Chehirian is a multimedia artist and researcher living between Philadelphia and Sofia. He is currently a PhD candidate in the History of Science at Princeton University, USA. Julian creates site-specific multimedia installations that employ modified objects, video, sound, and experimental technologies. In his scholarship, he writes on the history of attention and psychotherapy, post-war art and transnational history. His writing has appeared in edited collections for Yale University Press, Columbia University Press, Bloomsbury, in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, and in The Public Domain Review.

Vasil Vladimiriov

Vasil Vladimirov is a curator based in Sofia and his practice lies at the intersection between art, politics, and history. He is the curator and director of KO-OP Art Space and the founder of FIG – The Festival for Illustration and Graphics. His extensive involvement in the art scene includes guest curator positions at prominent local and international festivals and gallery programmes. He is a fellow of the Centre for Social Vision in Sofia, developing a research project and LARP workshop connected to communist-era cultural heritage. He holds a BA in Modern History and Politics from the Royal Holloway, University of London and an MA in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

extended team  

Lubov Cheresh

Lubov Cheresh is a photographer and designer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is the art producer of The Neighbours; alongside a key collaborator of the team. Her professional field is in advertising, art production and design. In her artistic practice Lubov explores cultural and emotional affiliation, as well as cultural heritage.

Martin Atanasov

Martin Atanasov is visual artist & researcher based in Sofia, Bulgaria. As part of the team behind The Neighbours, Martin has been involved in the art coordination and production of the installation, alongside creation of design and photography.  In his artistic practice, he explores the queer body, homosexuality in the context of Bulgaria, the political & social transition of Bulgaria, after the fall of the communist regime. The main medias & forms which Martin uses in his visual research are photography, video, photobooks and texts. 

Jorge Rubiera

Jorge Rubiera is a Cuban-American filmmaker. Jorge has been a part of the team behind the installation since 2017. Since 2022 he has been directing and filming a documentary film about the project and the team. In his practice, he makes documentary and narrative films. Over the past two decades, he has written and directed over a dozen narrative and documentary shorts, including Birdwatchers for the 2011 Borscht film festival. As cinematographer and editor he’s made over a dozen more films, including the Suncoast Emmy award winning “Hecho a Mano” for PBS, and the Telly Award winning “All-American Cuban Comet” for ESPN. 

Ioana Zamfir

Ioana is an assistant of The Neighbours currently completing her master’s in European and Eurasian Affairs at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and will pursue a DPhil at Oxford in the fall. Her research based on first-hand accounts explores queer lived experiences in Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine during the late communist period and the 1990s. 

Annie Boss

Annie Boss is an assistant of The Neighbours and is currently completing her master's in European Affairs at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. With a background in the performing arts, especially dance, she is interested in different ways of storytelling and has been honoured to be involved in immersing people into the survivors' stories. 

Tom Law

Tom Law is an assistant of The Neighbours and a freelance writer. He is a master's student at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Simone Fancello

Simone Fancello is an assistant part of the team behind The Neighbours, and also a visual arts student. After growing up in Andrano, he moves to Milan where he earns a bachelor's degree in painting and visual arts from Naba, and subsequently to Venice to attend a master's degree program in visual arts at Iuav. His works start from the material exploration of reality to converge into an awareness of a body that becomes increasingly physically present in any perception of it.

The Neighbours - 2024