Transposing emblem by Iuliana Guillot

My children will be away for two weeks. They left the other day to visit their grandparents during the holidays; in the meantime we will be moving to a new house, in a whole new town. This is not the first time we will have moved over the past ten years and every time I look at my children’s faces I can’t help but wonder whether they will still be here in 15 or 20 years’ time, whether they will be following our model or whether they will embrace a totally different lifestyle. When I got married to my husband from a different country, my grandmother said: “If only you had married X from Yeud…”, knowing that Yeud is a village only two kilometers away from the village where I was born and raised in my early childhood. I laughed and nodded but deep down I knew that things could not go on as in her own youth. The country was still recovering after the end of communism yet we had started to enjoy a certain openness and grasp, with our own hands, the Western world beyond our borders. In today’s increasingly globalized world my grandmother’s way of living would simply be impossible to achieve…

Timisoara, Romania – Building ensemble with the foundation of the old locks

Everything is shifting so fast and Romania is different, too. My country has undergone a lot of changes since the era of communism, and this has sped up since we joined the EU. The beneficial effects of our joining were felt almost instantly – we had the freedom to travel without invitation letters or proof of lodging; we could find products we had only seen at our relatives abroad on the shelves of our own shops, and ridiculous as it may seem, even the major bands touring in Europe started to put Romania on their destination list. In areas such as consumption we have reached almost the same level as our Western European neighbors. Obviously, we do not earn the same wages and we may be working more hours in order to keep ourselves afloat but we are finally able to enjoy similar products and services.

Timisoara, Romania – Windows

In terms of the private sector, the quality we get is usually worth its price; nevertheless, the public sector is still struggling, and two major areas we are drastically lagging behind in are health and education, to mention only two core areas affected by a lack of sufficient investment and properly trained personnel at the head of institutions, a reason good enough for many to leave the country. Unpredictability and instability in some of the most important sectors of our country – where the role of the state is vital – is defining our current life here in Romania and hence our biggest fears and concerns regarding our near or distant future.

Will we be properly taken care of if we get sick? Will we benefit from a decent pension when we retire after having paid our dues throughout work life? Will we be able to provide for the education of our children or pay our loans if something happens to our jobs?

Sibiu, Romania – City square of Sighisoara

These are the main questions that I hear around me and which are fueling our concern as nobody can guarantee the answer. I am a freelancer generally working with foreign customers, so most of the time I am unable to estimate my income for the weeks and months to come. I am also unable to say whether it will be sensible to continue as such in the future because the social system that is supposed to support us is drastically deficient. The laws regarding taxation and contributions to the social system have changed several times over the past decades, and there is no predictability as to what will happen over the upcoming years as the laws change with every newly-elected government. The same goes for education, where the rules regarding high school graduation and enrolment in college are regularly amended.

Vatra Moldovitei, Romania – Moldovita Monastery

Until a few years ago I still believed that we were witnessing a phenomenon similar to what had happened at the beginning of the twentieth century, when young Romanian students studying abroad came back to Romania eager to implement what they had experienced in Western countries – with sometimes disappointing results as a Romanian critic put it: “the theory of the forms without substance.” Recently, I have come to believe that there is more than this, that the ones ruling our country are neither interested in the form nor the substance – corruption is still present and has embraced subtler yet more complex forms that are difficult to eradicate. We are striving to have a prosperous life in a country which has every opportunity to grow beautifully due to its position and resources but which is being restrained by factors a normal democracy wouldn’t accept. And yet, human nature or a pattern that defines us causes difficulties – no more than six months ago the elected government was trying to overthrow its own prime minister due to internal conflicts in the ruling party. The government changed its plans and is promising visible and significant changes for the improvement of the country but we are still being treated in hospitals equipped as they were some twenty years ago, we are still getting on the same trains that we were travelling during my childhood, we are still seeing the same communism-reminding faces during political talk shows, and two very different Romanias are growing in one and the same place: the one owned by the state and the one owned by the people.

Sapanta, Romania – The Merry Cemetery

I love my country, the natural beauty that defines it, the comfort that I draw from being close to my family and living in an environment that I know, but I can’t help wondering whether I made the right choice when I decided to stay here. When young, at the beginning of our careers, we dream of changing the world, of making it a better place starting right here, in the immediate, the familiar, as this is what we know best and is the easiest to approach. But with every disappointing answer from the system that surrounds us our confidence in the ability to change things diminishes, and we finally ask ourselves whether we should continue on the same path, whether we should accept the reality that surrounds us or whether we should make a swift change and dare to live out our dreams.

Bucharest, Romania – Dambovita River

Romania is still struggling with old issues and mentalities that are difficult to change (although not entirely impossible). Things are changing, but not always at the speed we would want or in the direction we had thought. But there is change. And change can overcome deficiencies over the long term, and stability may be achieved although nothing can guarantee its duration. The unpredictable is always there, in our personal lives and mirrored on a global scale. Enjoying our personal achievements and success may be a way of countering external disappointment although we live in a unitary system that affects us all. We may know the solutions but find it difficult to implement them, or lack the people to work with for that purpose. Social activism may be the one thing able to connect us and instill change in our society that is still deficient on so many visible levels. But at least we are aware of this, and that is always a good place to start.

Iuliana Guillot

Bucharest, Romania – Herastrau lake


Photo 1: Timisoara, Romania – Building ensemble by Florin Cnejevici

Photo 2: Timisoara, Romania – Building ensemble with the foundation of the old locks by Florin Cnejevici

Photo 3: Timisoara, Romania – Windows by boggy

Photo 4: Sibiu, Romania – City square of Sighisoara – Krasnevsky

Photo 5: Vatra Moldovitei, Romania – Moldovita Monastery – Dziewul

Photo 6: Sapanta, Romania – The Merry Cemetery – Alexandru Nika

Photo 7: Bucharest, Romania – Dambovita River by Vladsogodel

Photo 8: Bucharest, Romania – Herastrau lake by Photosebia

The Emblem of Instability Transposed in postcard booklet at 1080 Wyckoff, Queens, NY

Parts of the Emblem of Instability

Alvisi, Andrea. Political and Social Instability: The Brexit Mess. May 2017.

Bahras. Unstable Air Pollution – Unstable Solutions: Mongolia. June 2017.

Bichen, Svetlana Novoselova. Mental and Cultural Instability: Russia and Turkey. February 2017.

Borghi, Silvana Renée. Living in Inestabilidad. September 2017.

Caetano, Raphael. Instabilidade emocional: Brazil. February 2017.

Çakır, Peren. On the Road in Search of Stability: Argentina and Turkey. June 2017.

Cordido, Verónica. Instability, a Stable Reality: Venezuela and America. April 2017.

Dastan, S.A. The Stability of Instability: Turkey and Syria. March 2017.

D’Adam, Anton. Psychosocial Instability in Argentina and America: El granero del mundo and The Manifest Destiny. January 2017.

Delibasheva, Emilia. Political Instability: Electoral Coups in America and Bulgaria. December 2016.

Ellie. Angry Folk: Korea. June 2017.

Farid, Isis Kamal. Stability Is Not An Option – Egypt. August 2017.

Friedrich, Angelika. Introduction: The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Fondevik, Vigdis. Unstable Nature: Norway and Denmark. October 2016.

Ghadir, Younes. Political Instability – Lebanon. September 2017.

Halimi, Sophia. Modern Instabilité: Youth and Employment in France and China. March 2017.

Hernandez, Jonay Quintero. Embracing Instability – Spain. February 2017.

Kelvin, Sera. The Stability in Expecting Emotional Instability: Brazil. April 2017.

Konbaz, Rahaf. The Castaways: On the Verge of Life – Syria. August 2017.

Korneeva, Ekaterina. Instability… or Flexibility? July 2017.

Krnceska, Sofija. Decades of Economic Instability – Macedonia. September 2017.

Kutscher, Karin. Inestabilidad in Interpersonal Relationships – Chile. October 2017.

Larousse, Annabelle. Legal and Emotional Instability in a Transgender Life – Ireland. August 2017.

Larrosa, Mariela. The Very Stable Spanish Instability. April 2017.

Lobos, José. Political Instability: Guatemala. May 2017.

MacSweeny, Michael. A House on a Hill – America. October 2017.

Mankevich, Tatsiana. The Absence of Linguistic Stabilнасцi: Does the Belarusian Language Have a Future? December 2016.

Meschi, Isabelle. Linguistic Instabilité and Instabilità: France and Italy. November 2016.

Mitra, Ashutosh. The Instability of Change: India. January 2016.

Moussly, Sahar. The Instability of Tyranny: Syria and the Syrian Diaspora. December 2016.

Nastou, Eliza. Psychological Αστάθεια and Inestabilidad during the Economic Crisis: Greece and Spain. December 2016.

Nevosadova, Jirina. Whatever Happens, It Is Experience. May 2017.

Partykowska, Natalia. Niestabilność and адсутнасць стабільнасці in the Arts: Polish and Belarusian Theater. January 2017.

Payan, Rodrigo Arenas. Impotence – Venezuela and Columbia. September 2017.

Persio, P.L.F. Social Instabilità and Instabiliteit: Italy and the Netherlands. November 2016.

Pranevich, Liubou. Cultural Instability: Belarus and Poland. March 2017.

Protić, Aleksandar. Demographic Instability: Serbia. July 2017.

Romano, Mavi. Unstable Identities: Ecuador and Europe. October 2016.

Sekulić, Jelena. Нестабилност/Nestabilnost in Language – Serbia. August 2017.

Sepa, Andreea. Instabilitate vs. Stabilität: How Important Are Cultural Differences? – Romania and Germany. September 2017.

Shunit. Economic Instability: Guinea and Gambia. April 2017.

Shalunova, Marina. Language Instability: Russia. June 2017

Sitorus, Rina. Instabilitas Toleransi: Indonesia. May 2017.

Skrypka, Vladyslav. National нестійкість: Ukraine. July 2017.

Staniulis, Justas. Nestabilumas of Gediminas Hill and the Threat to the Symbol of the State: Lithuania. July 2017.

Sousa, Antonia. Social and Economic Instabilidade: Portugal. January 2017.

Vuka. My Intimate Imbalanced Inclination. March 2017.

Walton, Éva. Historical and Psychological Bizonytalanság within Hungarian Culture. January 2017.

Yücel, Sabahattin. The Instability of Turkish Education and its Effect on Culture and Language: Turkey. July 2017.

Zadrożna-Nowak, Amelia. Economic Instability: Poles at Home and the Polish Diaspora. November 2016.

Zakharova, Anastasiya. Instability in Relationships: Russia. April 2017.

To follow: emblems by Moldovan, British, Macedonian, Mexican and Philippine writers and translators.

The Emblem of Instability Transposed in postcard booklet at 1080 Wyckoff, Queens, NY

Further reading

Azazeal, Alex. Отражение Spiegelt Reflection. 2014.

Friedrich, Angelika. The Emblem of Instability. September 2016.

Friedrich, Angelika. Sub-Under-U-метро-Bahn-Ground-Way. 2014.

Gergiev, Vladimir. Street – Straße – Улица. 2014

Metivier, Anthony. Kunstart. 2014.

Smirnov, Yuri. Art de streetулица. 2013.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem – Junk Culture – Müll Trashed Мусор (Part I). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem – Junk Culture – Müll Trashed Мусор (Part II). August 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry, et al. Transposing Emblem – Junk Culture – Müll Trashed Мусор (Part III). September 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Forward to Next Transposing Emblem. January 2016.

Whittlesey, Henry. Changes to Transposing Emblems. November 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Excerpt of new emblem transpoзиция on trash. September 2015.

Whittlesey, Henry. Müll trashed мусор. 2013

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