Digital technologies transform many of the traditional forms of art, and phenomena such as internet art, digital art installation and virtual reality have become quite normal artistic practices today in the world. How does digital art thrive in Buglie with a single festival dedicated to him – DA Fest?
We decided to talk to his organizer, Galina Dimitrova-Dimova, to find an answer. Galina holds an MA in Art Studies from the National Academy of Arts and a PhD in the same specialty. She has made a number of curatorial projects with Bulgarian and foreign artists, she has organized forums and conferences on various themes from contemporary art and culture, she has been a programmer for debuting artists, a co-author of documentary and experimental films, a lecturer in the MA program for digital arts at the National Academy of Arts. Galina is Project Coordinator at the Creed Bonum Foundation and curator of the Foundation’s Gallery.
We start with the question that is very excited about us. Can we expect a new edition of DA Fest soon?
Yes, the sixth edition of the festival will be held from 19 to 23 September this year. In the new edition, we have invited many interesting actors – leading international names such as Zimoun, Peter Sarkisian (USA), Ubermorgen (AT), Eva & Franco Mattes (IT), Jeroen van Loon, Peter Bosch & Simone Simons NL / Spain).
DA Fest is the only one to fix me, if I’m wrong, a festival in Bulgaria dedicated entirely to digital arts. It is surely the largest in Bulgaria with such a focus. Do you deserve attention, audiences and support?
The festival is the only one of its kind dedicated to the promotion and promotion of digital arts. It is closely related to the Master’s program for digital arts at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and this explains why this institution has committed itself to organizing such an event. The festival has the support of Sofia Municipality in the face of Culture Capital, as well as many foreign cultural institutes such as the Goethe Institute, the French Cultural Center, the Austrian Embassy, the American Embassy, etc.
Do you share the opinion that there is a misunderstanding, even in the artistic environments in our country, about the scale and the place that new media and technologies occupy in the world contemporary art? For the tremendous creativity and convertibility?
I share, yes. To a great extent, the mission of the festival is to present the possibilities of creative technology, but above all to present strong and inspiring works of artists using these media. I have been working for almost twenty years in this area – first in the InterSpace Center for Media Arts, working intensively in the period 1998-2008. Despite the many projects we have made here with the participation of artists from all over the world, this proportion of modern arts is somehow isolated and still exotic on our native scene.
Yes, there is a misunderstanding, but a clear reluctance to get the audience closer to digital arts. Now the situation is especially interesting, living in post-digital time, when all life is mediated by technology and media. People with great ease create digital content. Many of the artists we have invited have an interesting reading of this situation – highly critical, but also very creative, ironic and witty.
What is the obvious reluctance to bring the audience closer to digital arts?
Neglecting and underestimating the creativity of these kinds of artists. Also – an unwillingness to insight into the essence of these arts, accompanied by innate attachment and a priori rejection of the new and the different. Typical of our society, right?
Who are the Bulgarian artists in the field of digital arts, whose work we must monitor?
Besides those who have been working with digital media such as Petko Durmana, Krasimir Terziev, Venelin Shurelov, Svetlana Mircheva, etc., there is a new generation of artists, many of whom are graduates of the MA program for digital arts at the National Academy of Fine Arts interesting and worth watching their development – Albena Baeva, Petko Tanchev, Iliana Kancheva, Yana Krachunova, Valko Chobanov and others.
What changes does the educational framework require in order to make this choice for the development of an artist earlier, beyond the sole masters program of the National Academy of Arts, the amateur and, naturally, the training abroad?
Oh, thank you for the question! General changes, I would say. I am very excited about the topic of education, even with my husband, we are now launching an educational initiative at the place where we live today – “The Dairy. The freedom to fly, ” but to return to your question. I believe that children and young people should be left and encouraged to use modern means and devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc in their education instead of being banned and condemned as the great evil. It is simply ridiculous not to use the potential of these technologies and media freely and creatively. Generally, I believe that children and young people have to pursue their interests and be only guided and supported in the process of learning by adults – teachers and parents. Thus, those who want to become artists will naturally enjoy video, sound and multimedia in their creativity, along with painting, painting, sculpture. In no case do I deny the traditional media. Let us not forget that they are only a means of expressing the artistic idea.
As far as adequate education in this field of modern arts is concerned, I believe that educational institutions and institutions should open doors for people outside their system, to invite specialists from different fields to teach and share their knowledge and experience with students and students.
Are there opportunities for collaboration between digital enthusiasts and artists within DA Fest?
Yes, there are many workshops that we do at the festival and outside. DA Fest is also open to volunteers who have the opportunity to meet and communicate closely with the festival participants to help prepare and conduct events. There are already a few examples of creating collaborations along the way.
Most of the projects in the digital arts field are interdisciplinary and attract the participation and competencies of specialists from different fields – artists, musicians, programmers, choreographers and I believe that DA Fest has a role as a platform or meeting place for those creative people who can to exchange free thoughts, ideas, knowledge and experience during the program, and even to collaborate on future projects. Perhaps this gives us the main impulse to continue to make this festival here and now, despite the unfriendly environment in which it happens (I am referring to the overall situation regarding the arts and culture in our country now).
Photos: DA Fest
This interview is part of the publications on the Innovative Festivals – People, Economics and Smart Cities Project . The project is implemented with the financial support of Sofia Municipality Europe 2017 Program by MojE.BG Foundation, in partnership with CCI Iskar House of Culture and Bauerzaks Foundation.
The measures and / or conclusions expressed in the material do not represent an official opinion of Sofia Municipality.