From 24 to 28 October, the Da Fest international festival for digital arts will meet the Bulgarian audience with the new artistic practices and significant achievements in the field of digital arts, the organizers from Da Lab Foundation and the National Academy of Arts announced.
The ninth edition includes performances, screenings, lectures, presentations, workshops and exhibitions taking place in twelve locations in the capital.
This year’s theme is „Antibiosis: The Art of Struggle and Survival“. ‘ Just as microorganisms battle for supremacy in their microscopic realms, the authors in the festival programme delve into the intricacies of conflict, contrast and competition in human experience and the environment. The programme is presented in an accessible way for the general public and is suitable for all ages as well as for audiences with an interest in contemporary arts,“ say Da Fest.
"Through a variety of digital artworks, we invite audiences to consider the parallels between the struggles for existence of the microbial world and the multifaceted challenges facing humanity today. 'Antibiosis: The Art of Struggle and Survival' is a testament to the power of art to illuminate the hidden struggles and triumphs of existence, reminding us that the dance of conflict and collaboration is a universal and timeless phenomenon," say festival organizers Profs. Venelin Shurelov and Dr Galina Dimitrova-Dimova. Zimoun, Da fest
For the first time in Bulgaria comes Orlan – one of the most significant French artists with international recognition and a distinct style of her own, who uses sculpture, photography, performance, music, video, 3D, video games, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics. Always mixed with humour, sometimes parody or even grotesque, her work questions social phenomena today.
An exhibition of her projects opens at Credo Bonum Gallery on October 25. The following day, Orlan will give the lecture „Orlan: it’s my body, it’s my software“ – in the Slaveykov Hall of the French Institute.
Performance, installation, exhibition
The festival program features the world-renowned artist Zimun, who has gained popularity for his evocative site-specific works. He presents a large-scale installation specially created for the space of the Academy Gallery. Weaving together simple and functional components, he builds architectural platforms of sound that express the tension between the ordered patterns of modernism and the chaotic forces of life, say the organisers.
Gallery One is hosting five works in the festival program. Internationally acclaimed pioneers of interactive art Laurent Mignoynaud and Christa Somerer present The Value of Art (Wild Boar), an interactive painting dealing with the economy of attention and the creation of value in the art world.
In the same gallery presents the latest project by French artist Alizee Armet, created during her residency at EMAP – European Media Art Platform. She visits Da Fest with the interdisciplinary installation in the field of technology and bio-art „Ghost plants from damaged worlds“.
In One, the festival is also showing the four-part video installation The Humors by US-based Yuge Zu, which explores connections, isolation and longing in natural and urban spaces as sites of shared dreams. The fifth work is by the Bulgarian artist Kalin Serapionov and is the video portrait „A blonde woman in a red dress and bright lipstick talking on the phone and smoking a cigarette“.
The Hungarian collective Binaura is presenting at the Liszt Institute in Sofia „A device for future memoirs“, creating imaginary scenarios based on works of magical realism. Binaura are Agoston Nagu and Bens Samu, and they create algorithmic installations using free open source tools.
The duo Scenocosme are Gregory Lasser and Anais met den Anxt from France, and their interactive works exist thanks to the contact with the viewers. Scenocosme creates hybrids between technology and live or natural elements. In Sofia, viewers have the opportunity to interact with their work, Akousmaflore, which now inhabits the lobby of the Heat Plant and will remain there until 28 October.
Three more performances will be presented in the halls of the Heat Plant. „Flying Bodies in the Fields is a contemporary bok-o-bok dance performance for four performers and a swarm of drones, exploring the disappearance of bees and the use of drones for pollination.
Immersion is a new form of live action – an interactive and participatory electro-performance in which the audience becomes both participant and spectator. The author of the project is the French musician Verlatour, who arrives in Sofia together with his team of multimedia, code, video and lighting engineers.
Verlatour, Da fest
In the third performance of the festival, Amsterdam-based video artist Finn Borat explores death and infinity.
Da Fest’s screening programme presents a selection of short films at the digital arts forum Ars Electronica. On 27 October, the Goethe Institut hosts the programmes Welcome to Planet B and The Electronic Theatre.
Again, an interdisciplinary installation Blackbox AI can be seen there, which explores gender bias in artificial intelligence in the form of a maze. It was created as a collaboration between Anastasia Nefeli Vidaki, Lida Zaharopoulou, Mihaela Dobreva, Thea Rukavina and Viviane Stamu, within the framework of the Goethe Institute’s regional project EthicAI=Labs.
You can see the full festival programme on their website.