The series mapping the phenomenon of modern forms of housing in urban and rural localities throughout Slovakia. The series of colour pictures shows the current trends in housing in an authentic manner and with a sense for details and humorous exaggeration. It is a kind of a captured dream of new, modern urban housing estates or new row houses in suburban residential satellite areas. It also provides an insight into human souls and ideas about ideal living, materialised from different digital architectonic programmes into reality in the form of concrete, bricks or plastic windows and doors set in the Slovak landscape. Andrej Balco’s pictures thus sensitively capture the need of the local population to reshape the surrounding space and change the character of the landscape in their image. What we can see here are various megalomaniac flat building projects in every major city or new suburban agglomeration, with family houses squeezed on small lots with space just for parking a car or for a small garden with a swing or trampoline or a small swimming pool. Despite the apparent uniformity and formal drabness of contemporary buildings, articulating this phenomenon with prefabricated concrete walls, the author seeks to offer, under these seemingly boring conditions, varied content and visual representation, and to show the uniqueness of a fleeting moment that a photographer can capture with a digital camera with a little luck. Like in his previous project Suburbs, he again develops the theme of alienation, separateness, and isolation (currently multiplied with quarantine measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus). The author maps these intimate scenes and moments of the daily life of all of us, offering an opportunity to search for alternative solutions in the temporariness of today’s being.
The visual concept of the project is based on the aestheticism principles of the author’s previous successful photographic series Suburbs, in which he primarily focused on the interior. In his newest series HouSink, he pays much more attention to the external environment of new residential complexes and suburbs. He sensitively works with the rasters of objects and seeks to capture the most interesting shot possible in terms of composition. In addition to the theme, what is perhaps common to all his pictures is the bizarre, contrastive, bittersweet atmosphere, evoking feelings of absurdity and nostalgy. The photo series HouSink enriches the wide-spectrum production of documentary photographic projects in Slovakia with a body of work that provides full testimony and is also aimed to be a unique reflection of the contemporary period and its constant changes.
Text by Andrej Jaroš
The project was created with the financial support of the Slovak Arts Council.