Radosveta KIROVA
(Independent, Sofia, Bulgaria)

Keywords: visual heritage, public art, communist monument, augmented reality

Built the socialist regime to commemorate the 1300-years anniversary of the Bulgarian State as part of the National Palace of Culture complex the most controversial – and probably the most prominent object of public art in Sofia the angular monument used to provoke debates from the very moment of its construction in 1981 until its demolition in July 2017. Although the integration of national symbols such as the sculptures of the most powerful medieval Bulgarian ruler King Simeon and the authors of the Cyrillic Alphabet the brothers Cyril and Methodius as well as the slogans written by the national heroes from the 19th century Revival period Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev, the modernist interpretation of the authors of the monument for representation of the “evolution of the Bulgarian spirit” in the spiral shaped 35-meters-high steel structure left misunderstood for the general public – it was left in decay for the last two decays and finally demolished in the summer of 2017.
In the last two decays the new digital methods of research and documentation that become part of the UNESCO chart in 2003 has changed profoundly the heritage protection area by shifting the paradigm of “memory” and its contemporary interpretation as virtualization of heritage.
The paper reviews in brief the construction history of the monument 1300 Years of Bulgaria in Sofia, the efforts for its contemporary visual rearrangement via 3d-mapping artistic actions organized by Transformatori association in the period 2012-2014, the public debats and the monument’s demolition in 2017 as well as the latest initiative from 2018 for its preservation as visual heritage by launching an augmented reality revival software application which provides the transformation of the controversial object into visual/virtual heritage by implementation of an innovative tool for heritage protection.

Relevance for the conference: After the demolition in 2017 of the monument “1300 Years of Bulgaria” an initative intends its preservation as part of Sofia’s cultural heritage by implementation of augmented reality application.
Relevance for the session: Case study of the most controversial public art object in Sofia and its preservation via virtualization.
Innovation: Implentation of the innovaive way of heritage preservation via transforming the controversial heritage into visual/virtual heritage: case study of the monument 1300 Years of Bulgaria.

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