Aici Acolo Pop Up Gallery, Cluj, 2018
Birds’ migration, according to recent theories, can be related to iron oxides that seem to influence their internal compass and helps them see the magnetic poles of the earth, guiding them on remarkably long journeys to their seasonal residence. From a personal and intimate viewpoint, Vlad Albu’s project reflects on our own internal compass by which we navigate and decide to live in a particular place, yet often rely on social or material considerations rather than on a reflexive, functional and, why not, organic-like feeling. The simplicity and fluid movements of birds, their ease in carrying themselves and caring for each other, their gathering and togetherness – become a departure point to contrast and further approach the current confusing conditions of living in and with the cities, the lack of emotional comfort one might encounter and the constant sense of dislocation it can give rise to. In an age of increased urbanisation and rising population densities, to imagine a better space for living appears like a wishful-thinking reverie. If we could build a city, how would we do it? And can we still hope to live in a space that truly ”fits” us, asks Vlad Albu, in a veiled invitation to reflect on the identities and anxieties of today, as well as on the socio-economic and political situations. Equally, his project delves in practices of personal mapping that helps us reimagine the places we live in. While we inhabit, create, and imagine a world in motion, a continuity to which we contribute through our mobility, the spaces we live in inhabit us as well and reimagining them can at least help us contour an emotional map of the places which constructs us.