On 17 September, Plovdiv is organizing its seventh consecutive Night of Museums and Galleries. The third of the Night’s three main programs – The City & Public Spaces Program – includes contributions from painters, musicians and interdisciplinary artists whose works will be shown across the streets, squares, parks and hills of Bulgaria’s second largest city.
New this year are the Open Call for Projects Platform and the International Projects Platform organised by the Open Arts Foundation, the latter of which will be curated by art historian and critic Iara Boubnova. Two projects by internationally recognised artists – Russian-born Vadim Fishkin and the Slovenian art collective IRWIN – will be among the Night’s highlights.
There will be lots of outdoors music, too.
OPEN CALL FOR PROJECTS
A test of aesthetic and civic positions, the Open Call for Projects is a program of 12 projects, chosen through an open competition, whose aim is to open opportunities for artistic innovation.
Two Plovdiv-based international artists have initiated projects that were designed especially for the Night of Museums and Galleries
In one of them, composer Nima Gousheh, the Plovdiv Scratch Ensemble and the Detska Kitka Choir will perform Treatise by the 1950s and 60s British experimental composer Cornelius Cardew at the Roman Odeon – the work’s premiere in Bulgaria. The performance, which will last 193 minutes for each of the 193 pages of Treatise, involves a great deal of free interpretation, as Cardew used a system of drawings and signs in place of classical notation.
Artist Stuart McCulloch is the mastermind behind a 10-metre high inflatable sculpture called The Plovdiv Spaceman, which will be erected in front of the Military Club in Plovdiv Central Square to the brass band music.
Two other Open Call projects deal with buildings from the socialist period (both by architect Lyubomir Shinkov) and issues which sit on the borderline between urban planning and contemporary art.
Serbian artist Darija Medic will adapt her work The South Collection – previously shown at the Dutch Centre for the Visual Arts – for the abandoned Bratska Mogila monument. The project analyses the institutionalisation of public space by transforming soon-to-be-torn-down buildings. Daria will adjust the identity of the landmark Plovdiv monument by using the internet site and logo of the Mall of Plovdiv, which is located opposite from it.
A documentary tracing the history of the successful efforts of a group of citizens to stop the demolition of the legendary Komsomol/Cosmos cinema will be screened in front of the cinema’s building.
A program of screenings will take place in two thematic segments in selected locations: documentaries and research films in the Old Town, and short art videos on façades and in parking lots in the New Town.
A selection of short films by Dimitar Shopov and Alexander Panayotov entitled This Is How We Do It Here will be shown at the top of Nebet Tepe in the Old Town, while the Festival of Ethnographic and Anthropological Film will run at the Lapidarium, near Balabanov’s House, until midnight.
A special selection of documentaries-for-parking-lots will be presented by the VIVACOM Fund at the parking lot in Stanislav Dospevski St., near the Night’s info kiosk. Video Spinning Top is a curatorial video project by Pavlina Mladenova in which she shows the “colours” and “circular movements” of contemporary video art through three video selections, which, although conceptually different, symbolise the uniform technology of the moving image today.
Other screenings will take place outside the EVN Building (37 Hristo G. Danov St.), where Visualcontainer – a selection of Italian art videos by Alessandra Arno (Milan) – will be shown, and in the parking lot next to the Sveta Bogoroditsa Church, with works by Renata Kaminska (Berlin). Renata’s controversial silent video 180, which documents a sports event for men aged 56 to 81 in Ulm, Southwestern Germany, could not get a viewing permission until 2008, a whole decade after it was made.
Two interactive video projects will make use of parking lots in Kapana and Otets Paisiy St.
Velizar Dimchev and Kaloyan Dimitrov’s animated character Home Faber – Fanky will begin his life in the parking lot in Konstantin Stoilov St. in Kapana, involving passers-by in an interactive video game.
Cityscape 2.0: Get Inside the Frame is a site-specific audiovisual project by the Plyus Association whose aim is to present our shared environment as an organism made up of various “objects”, each with its own value.
Two projects in the Kapana quarter are a form of artistic protest and visual criticism.
A group of students from the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts have come together for a video/music performance entitled Posterior Position whose theme is the inability of our society to produce an appropriate environment for the development of young people. The performance will take place in the abandoned free area in Zagreb St.
Simultaneously, artist Ivailo Hristov will experiment with computer graphics on the corner of Abadjiska St. and Krivolak St., on the border between Kapana and the Old Town, in an installation called Cultural Reflexion, which makes use of contemporary advertising techniques in an urban environment context.
Two projects will live on after the Night of Museums and Galleries.
A new public library will open in Otets Paisiy St. thanks to an initiative by Studio 8½. The New Otets Paisiy Public Library is a mobile book collection housed inside an old trolleybus. Otets Paisiy St. was chosen as location partly because of its name – the street commemorates the 18th century Bulgarian monk who wrote the famous Istoriya Slavyanobulgarskaya – and partly because this is where the first trolleybus line used to run in Plovdiv in the 1950s.
PLOVEDIV, a new logo of Plovdiv, is a work by artist Milen Gelishev and English teacher Simeon Todorov. A neon sign integrating the word “love” in the city’s name will be placed in a key location in Stanislav Dospevski St. The work is inspired by the artists’ understanding of how people nowadays communicate in urban environments and uses a creative approach to place branding.
INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS PLATFORM
For the first time this year the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries has its international projects curator. Art historian and critic Iara Boubnova has selected two projects by internationally recognised artists: Lighthouse by Russian-born Slovenia-based Vadim Fishkin, and East Art Map by the Slovenian art collective IRWIN.
In Lighthouse, the heartbeat of artist Vadim Fishkin is transmitted into a street’s lighting system in real time. Using a smart phone as his command tool, Fishkin materialises one of the most romantic metaphors for the relationship between the artist and the public – his energy is literally transformed into visible light. This amalgam of art, science and technology was first shown at the first edition of Manifesta in Rotterdam in 1996 and a few months later decorated the fretwork dome of the Vienna Secession.
The other project selected by Iara Boubnova will be shown at 36 Otets Paisiy St. East Art Map is a unique international political and research project started by IRWIN in 2001. Despite their already successful international career, the artists are acutely aware of the gaps in the so called history of world art, especially as far as contemporary art is concerned. In East Art Map, they invited curators and critics from the former Soviet block to name artists and events from the second half of the 20th century which have shaped the language and messages of art on “our” side of the Iron Curtain, before and after its fall. The project’s motto is “History is not given to us. Help us make it.” A special guest of the Night of Museums and Galleries will be the artist and IRWIN founding member Miran Mohar.
MUSIC AND SPECIAL PROJECTS
The Brazz ViliDJ and Quartet CORD bands will join the Plovdiv edition of the A to JazZ Festival, which will run as a street jazz parade throughout the city, starting from the Central Post Office. The A to JazZ festival is supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
The official after party of the Night of Museums and Galleries will be hosted at the Tobacco Warehouse (corner of Ivan Vazov St. and Ekzarh Yosif St.), with special guests Dosyu Amoudjev and Sirius & Methodikal of Reel Feel. In the hours before the party kicks in, the Warehouse will also host ±359 Topology, a joint project of the Goethe Institute in Bulgaria, BrainStoreProject and deufert&plishke, offering an original take on Bulgaria’s cultural and social transformation in the last 25 years.
The Sariev Gallery will present Half-Truth by Pravdoliub Ivanov (Sofia) and 1-Year Warranty by Daniel Knorr (Berlin) – two projects which were created in separate locations but will now be shown alongside each other in Plovdiv in the form of graffiti under a joint title – Half-Truth / 1 Year Warranty.
The International Projects Platform and the Open Call for Projects Platform are supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
For additional information:
OPEN ARTS FOUNDATION
Organiser of the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries
36 Otets Paisiy St., Plovdiv 4000, Bulgaria
www.openarts.info, 0888520375, 0885550993, firstname.lastname@example.org