Every year within the framework of NIGHT/Plovdiv, the organizer of the event – the Open Arts Foundation, offers its own specially prepared programme. In 2017 it is connected with the anniversary of the Foundation, celebrating 10 years of its establishment.
Open Arts is one of the most sustainable young organizations in Bulgaria. It operates to help build a modern type of urban culture and promote it abroad. Its activity began in 2007, the year of Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union, and is connected with unrestricted travelling and exchange of information, the interests, ethics and ways of communication of a new generation of citizens of the world. Projects such as the Alternative Map of Plovdiv, City Arbour, the Otets Paisiy Street Festival, as well as the NIGHT/Plovdiv itself, rediscover the urban environment and build memory. They develop the community and the image of the city. Over the years, the Foundation has been actively investing in creating knowledge and understanding of contemporary culture. Long-standing projects, such as the Introduction to Contemporary Art, as well as the FLUCA open stage in Otets Paisiy Street, established in 2016, appeal to new audiences, promote contemporary art and enhance access to culture.
The specially prepared programme Open Arts in NIGHT/Plovdiv is curated by culturologist Vladiya Mihaylova under the motto “HERE EVERYWHERE”. It will present an anniversary exhibition connected with the activity of the foundation. The exhibition will be arranged in the former Detmag Snezhanka department store in the Main Street, closed down over fifteen years ago and opening for the first time during the NIGHT. The projects, initiatives, cause and mode of work – the “kitchen” of the Open Arts, will be shared with the spectators by way of installations, video materials, documents, interviews with friends, partners, and the team. Part of the exhibition form the specially created works by artists Luchezar Boyadjiev, Svetlana Mircheva, Dimitar Shopov, a performance by Voin de Voin, the animated map of the NIGHT through the years by artist Petko Tanchev. Works by Pravdolyub Ivanov, Kiril Kuzmanov and documentation from the MUSIZ creation project by Ivan Moudov are also featured.
In addition to the exhibition, the anniversary programme includes artistic projects set up within the city and in other spaces, with the participation of artists from Austria, America, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland, France and elsewhere. Most of them are created in Plovdiv, will have their first presentation during the Night, or have been specifically adapted for it.
On different locations in the city, it will be possible to find the small sculptures by street artist Isaac Cordal. Suspended from lamps, drainpipes, facade walls and other unexpected places, they bring focus to the underestimated human-nature relationship through a critical view on the side effects of our evolution.
On a popular meeting place in Plovdiv – “the buttons”, Veronika Tsekova’s project will be presented. It consists in a words-an-meanings game and includes a collective reading flash mob.
Visitors will be able to take part in the directed walks around the city, where through the displays of their mobile phones and aided by virtual reality technologies they will gain a new and different sensory perception of the surrounding environment. The project is designed for Plovdiv by French artist Adelin Schweizer together with Fred Sechet abd Naoyuki Tanaka. The artists take part in the IN SITU European platform for art in public space, which in 2016 was joined also by the Open Arts foundation.
FLUCA – the open stage for contemporary art and culture in Otets Paisiy Street – will participate once again with its own programme curated by Ursula Probst, which deals with the idea of a “promised place” in the modern urban city concepts.
For a second successive year, Creative Media Lab will take place within the framework of NIGHT/Plovdiv and the Military Club in the Central Square will once again become a meeting venue for contemporary art and technologies. The large-scale audio-visual live performance SEED by US artist and program designer Mary Franck deals with borderline images and sensory experiences of the development of organic forms in relation to architecture, sound and abstract ideas of space and form. The artist has a rich professional record of worldwide participations and work for Google, NASA, the Abu Dhabi royal family, etc. Seed is her most recent work, and its world premiere will take place on September 16th in Plovdiv.
For the first time this year, Introduction to Contemporary Art will have its own special edition during the Night. At the Catholic Cathedral of St. Louis, Prof. Vladimir Gradev will hold a lecture on “Sacred Art and Modernity”. It is dedicated to the Vatican collections and introduces for the first time in Bulgaria this subject of rising relevance. In the past few years, the Vatican has been increasingly focusing on contemporary art by showing installations on socially relevant topics. The documentary in which Pope Francis shares his ideas on art was also completed in 2017.
The projects selected by Vladiya Mihaylova in the “Here Everywhere” programme discuss major issues of the present day such as the world business, global warming, the change in human sensory world, etc. Part of them are the problems of consumption and building of identity through the practices of consumption, as seen in the “I AM/Balaj” theatre installation in the Excelsior shopping mall presented by Vox Populi Documentary Theatre Studio; the focus placed on the human body in the performances “No chemical experience!” by four South Korean choreographers and the Atom Theatre; the presentation of Utopian spaces and world maps in the present post-utopian time in Proxima Utopia, a project by the Finnish architects Mika Savela and Henrik Drufva (Selim Projects).
Look forwards to these free events in the three evenings of the NIGHT and keep track of the interviews with their authors on www.night.bg/blog.
The Open Arts Programme is organized with the partnership of the Embassies of Austria, Finland and the U.S., the French Institute in Bulgaria, the Cervantes Institute in Sofia, the IN SITU European Platform, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s (Taike), and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Plovdiv Municipality and the National Culture Fund.
Co-organizers of the NIGHT/Plovdiv Festival are America for Bulgaria Foundation and Plovdiv Municipality.