Gone Shopping

Gone Shopping is a photo series that deals with the commercialisation of the public space in Kishinev, Republic of Moldova. As part of the City for Sale documentary project, the sequence makes makes reference to the urban transformations that marked most cities in Southeast European region during the last two decades (Moldova, Romania, Ukraine). Particularly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and fall of authoritarian regimes in its former satellite states the planned economic model has collapsed being followed by massive privatization processes of various state owned companies and entities (as a consequence of the so-called first wave of privatization) – these goods ending up in someone’s private hands. In the beginning of 90s (during the transition period) due to the decline of the local economy and production of goods, the re-selling became one of the few opportunities for getting an income for many of Chisinau inhabitants – it was the period when the new markets started to appear in the city taking various forms (street vendors, kiosks, improvised markets etc. occupying public spaces through out the city), being accompanied by billboards and aggressive street publicity, and finally the shopping malls joining the competition for the customers. The few commercial spaces that were active during the soviet period and that are still open like the Central Market, few former socialist shops and several flea markets in the city risk disappearing in the shadow of the more competitive sales grounds. Text by Vladimir Us.