WTAR #6 ½
Veliko Tarnovo 1 – 10.09.2022
Water Tower Art Residence chose Veliko Tarnovo as the center of its efforts to decentralize the cultural environment in Bulgaria. For 10 days, artists from Bulgaria, Austria, China, the USA and France explored the potential of abandoned or neglected spaces, in search of the deep psychological aspects of oblivion, loneliness and the discouraging atmosphere that sometimes succeeds in depriving us of a vision of the future. In order to use these phenomena as a starting point, the participants of this event for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of artistic practices sought artistic solutions for a new look at modernity, for revealing the neglected potential of the urban environment, for a new connection and investment in a possible future without forgetfulness and sadness.
Before the 10 days of the event, Water tower Art Residence provided the artists with individual work with mentors working in different parts of the world and using the most diverse means of expression – performance, digital art, new technology or graffiti, painting and many others. The work included new social and artistic policies based on different expertise, connection between science and art, digital art, preservation of the symbiosis between man and nature, social inclusion on topics against discrimination and for more tolerance.
In this edition, Water Tower Art Residence has committed to a zero-carbon footprint. The artists together made a commitment to save energy during their ten-day stay in Veliko Tarnovo. The use of plastic packaging was minimized, waste was collected and disposed of separately, and all organic residues were composted. Each of the participants will leave in Bulgaria their artistic interpretation of reality and take with them the good examples and the memory of the unique Veliko Tarnovo.
The initiative is organized by the IME Association and is implemented with the financial support of the American Embassy of the USA in Sofia- Small grant scheme and the French Cultural Institute in Sofia. In partnership with VT events – TaM.
Thank you all for making this happen!
©Water tower art fest
BURGAS – 10 – 20.08.2022
VELIKO TURNOVO 1 – 10.09.2022
The long-awaited edition of our next decentralized residence is already a fact.
In our mentoring program, with the participation of 5 international artists, we offer exchange of experience and immersion in the local environment for creative interpretations of various topics.
Who is the residence for? For artists, without restrictions on age, young – debuting or established artists.
The creative residency will consist of two new destinations (new for us), with new partnerships and friendships, new joint ideas and research on various topics, provoked by the places of interaction through creative intervention.
This year’s locations are – Burgas, Salt Lakes in partnership with Symbiotic – Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and Veliko Turnovo in partnership with VT Events
By default, the creative residence offers a platform for communication and exchange of ideas in the field of art and culture. New culture and new relationships between people, nature, heritage, technology and progressive ideas leading us to all to coexistence, both inside and outside us, in a spirit of continuity and development of ideas for possible future. Everyone is welcome to participate in our program, interested and working in the arts, thus including but not limited to visual arts, digital or sound art as well as architecture, participatory arts and performance arts
Past editions here: https://watertowerartfest.com/
Why do we do it? One of the leading notions that drives us to go to abandoned or underused places and explore their potential, is to reconnect and invest into a possible future, where there is lack of sense of abandonment and the very discouraging atmosphere of forgetfulness and sadness.
This self-motivated, initiated decentralized event, across the country will allow us to further explore the margins of what we know from the physical world, there is waiting the feeling of total comfortability of the unknown.
Same goes within ourselves! We explore hidden parts of our consciousness, as well as actual spaces and befriend them. We find and look for a link that remind us of ourselves and we react to it, dance with it and make our own in company of others.
The point of departure for us in this edition is an international showcase of progressive ideas and the sharing of artistic practices, touching the pulse of ethereality, by focusing on function of the arts.
New social and artistic policies based on various expertise’s offered by the especially invited mentors such as link between science and the arts, digital art, ecology and preservation of symbiosis of man and nature, social inclusion on themes of non-discrimination and tolerance
*WTAR 6 is supported by USA embassy Sofia -small grant scheme and French Cultural Institute
Burgas, Atanasovo Salt Lakes 10 – 20.08.2022
Exploring the surroundings of of Atanasovo Salt Lakes and the rich unique bio diverse eco system and atmosphere of the natural habitat is in the basis of this year residency. We encourage projects on themes connected to the link between ecology and arts- all medias welcome – performance, installation, visual arts, etc. that foster maintaining the human-lake symbiosis through artistic research-based interactions at the salt lakes. To be able to maintain the fragile equilibrium between man and nature we need creative ideas for preserving natural habitat without disturbing its integrity. The exploration of link between nature and man can take the scientific turn and ecological data, but when approached from artistic point it has the potential of transcending the usually distant and inapprehensible to many, only by approaching it from emotional side.
“The approaches artists use to visualize environmental change problems range from realistic (e.g., photography, film, videos, TV) to abstract, often aiming to elicit human tensions (beauty, ugliness; risk, security); for instance, by means of the toxic sublime. A widely recognized challenge in the arts is that subjectivity both in the artistic expression and the viewers’ emotional perception and reactions can lead to a decontextualization and a false understanding of patterns of order in nature. As a result, viewers may perceive sustainability problems as distant and unlinked to personal experience and exposure.
Abstraction and artificiality in scientific visualizations, while representing the order of nature and environmental change problems objectively, can also remove the viewer from context. Similar to the artistic approach, scientific visualizations of environmental problems can lead to a disconnect between people’s emotions to and experiences from nature.” (source https://springerplus.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40064-016-2831-z)
In this respect we aim to portray the link of man and nature in a more profoundly comprehensible way for all, by initiating talks and workshops as well as installations and visualization of research-based approach to artistic intervention at the Salt lakes of Atanasovo during our residency.
Лагуната на живота / The Lagoon of Life– Bio diversity organization
What we offer?
- Accommodation nearby the salt lakes in village of Sarafovo or Burgas/or opportunity for camping nearby the Simbiotichno base at salt lakes
- Transport from Burgas to Atanasovo Salt Lakes/and opportunity to hire a bike
- Mentorship program defined by each of the mentor incl., workshops, artists talk, exchange and possibility to collaborate together
- Place to work and present the results from residency
- Technical and logistic help, production costs (outlined and discussed preliminary with us)
- Full media coverage of presentational results and social media
Who are the mentors?
Mariko Hori – Japan/The Netherlands
Juan Valencia – Spain/Canary Islands
Working language – English, Spanish
*During the residency there may be issues regarding safety zones and other requirements by the reserve authorities, outside our control. It is not allowed to leave anything in the salt lakes and we kindly ask you to confine with these regulations as it is an ecological reserve with rich bio diversity, we will try to settle any occurring questions and ideas accordingly, but we ask for your patience and understanding
**To apply, please send a CV and motivation letter to: email@example.com stating the dates of availability and interest in residency place for 2022, by 24th of July
WTAR #6 ½
Veliko Turnovo 1-10.09.2022
Rich on history and culture is VT. as it is in the center of Bulgaria, metaphorically and for real
What are we going to do there? Meet, talk, eat together, investigate places, learn from and for each other, befriend, empower, transcend, work individually or in groups in developing and showing a piece of art/thought as a final outcome of the residency!
Deadline of open call? When does it start – 1st of September! When does it end – 10th of September!
A more detailed Program and Timeframe will follow concerning mentor’s workshops, Artist tour and talks, Group visits.
Final event/showcase – 10th of September
Working language – English
What we offer?
- Accommodation in Veliko Turnovo for the whole period of residency
- Mentorship program defined by each of the mentor incl., workshops, artists talk, exchange and possibility to collaborate together
- Organized Art tours and visits to nearby villages and sites
- Place to work and present the results from residency
- Technical and logistic help, production costs (outlined and discussed preliminary with us)
- Full media coverage of presentational results and social media
VT Events- TAM, Dupini art group
Radomir Dankov – architect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FrtZNlaWg0
Antonin Bouchy (Antonin Strantsouzin) – France/Bulgaria
Sandra Zanetti- USA
Ana Bacheva- Bulgaria / France
Aiming to explore abandoned and underused sites in industrial or rural areas and in the outskirts of city centers, Water Tower Art Residency-Decentralized Edition #6 will have the city of Veliko Turnovo as its anchor and meeting point.
On the occasion of workshops and explorations, various satellite locations can be visited.
(list of places: Vishovgrad, Brestnitsa more tbc)
In order to maintain a fluid rhythm and ease of movement, participants will be able to divide into small autonomous groups, according to their interests and affinities, to carry out expeditions in VT and its region.
The mentors, in addition to proposing workshops, will be present to connect residents and local cultural actors, as well as to organize travel outside VT.
The VT base will be the space for living, sharing and pooling the various experiences accumulated, as well as the place for creating and preparing the final event.
Plan of indicative program:
Day 1-2 : meeting in VT, installing, explanations….
Day 3 to 7 : workshops, exploration, trip to the satellites… with possibilities to stay overnight
Day 8 to 10 : preparation for the final event
*To apply, please send a CV and motivation letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org stating the dates of availability and interest in residency place for 2022, by 24th of July
For the fifth year, Bulgarian and foreign artists exchanged experience this year our choice for interventions was Varna – sea capital of Bulgaria- a multicultural city with rich historical and cultural and architectural heritage. The purpose of this project was to expand our activities in other regions of the country outside Sofia, as an act of decentralization of cultural life. Our host was a revitalized old bunker in Varna and as we are true to our long term objectives of working for social change at alternative and abandoned spaces we set the tone for further creative development of the place in the city.
PROGRAM OF WTAR VARNA DECENTRALIZED EDITION 2021
for our online sessions and zoom links please visit our fb page
20.09 START OF RESIDENCY
ONLINE MEETING WITH ANA VUJIC 18:30 @THE BOOKSTORE
21.09 10:00 – 14:00 ART TOUR WITH VARNA SPACES
22.09 START OF WORKSHOPS
ONLINE SCREENING OF GINNY SYKES @REBONKERS 18:00
23.09 WORKSHOPS/ONLINE SESSIONS
PRESENTATION DAISUKE TAKEYA And MIri Hamada and Yuzuru Maeda 16:00 @THE BOOKSTORE 45min Responding: International Performance Art Festival https://r3.responding.jp/responding/
24.09 WORKSHOPS/ONLINE SESSIONS
ONLINE PRESENTATION CHUYIA CHIA @THE BOOKSTORE 16:00/ 90 min
25.09 WORKSHOPS/ONLINE SESSIONS
26.09 18:00 – 22:30 MID PRESENTATION AND CONCERT ONLINE LECTURES/PERFORMANCES 18:00
27 – 28.09 FINALIZING ART WORKS/EDITING/INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS
29.09 18:00 – 21:00 EXHIBITION OPENING @Rebonkers club
EXHIBITION OF RESULTS @REBONKERS BY APPOINTMENT
10 October END EXHIBITION
The event is organized with the financial support of the American Embassy Sofia – Small Grant Scheme, IPortunus and Abteilung Kultur Basel-Stadt and the Polish Cultural Institute Sofia.
OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPATION AT WATER TOWER ART RESIDENCY DECENTRALIZED EDITION VARNA 2021
20 – 30 SEPTEMBER 2021
•ORGANIZED BY NGO IME
Contact: Nia Pushkarova
Artist and Organizer/ Curator of Water tower art residency/fest in Varna 2021 and Chairwoman of Ngo IME
With kind support by Embassy of United States in Sofia and i Portunus
• Details on event and curator’s concept
For the fifth year, Bulgarian and foreign artists will exchange experience. This time the event will be in Varna – the sea capital of Bulgaria, as an act of decentralization of the cultural life of Sofia for the maximum usage of the potential that arts and culture possess for greater social inclusion.
The tried and true method of the “mentoring program” is to combine progressive creative social strategies with their implementation in a local context. Both online and in person workshops will be initiated in public spaces and in main partner’s venue ReBonkers ( an old bunker in Varna) leading to resulting in a final exhibition event of residency with especially invited team members as mentors working and collaborating in different disciplines such as performance art, film and art in public spaces and socially engaged practices.
Water Tower Art Residency is a new, separate chapter, but also a natural extension to the book of the NGO IME and Water Tower Art Fest – whose original format (international contemporary art festival in abandoned buildings) ended in 2016 with the 10th anniversary of the festival, including more than 80 contemporary art offerings - painting, sculpture, video and photo projections, installations, performances – from over 10 European countries, as well as the world. Based on years of experience and a network of participants and partners, the essence of Creative Water Tower Residence is to continue the set tone and tradition: the artistic development of artists and their audiences, and the creation of works in a specific context at a specific location – site-specific art.
Our partner will be ReBonkers as well as a network of independent artistic initiatives dedicated to the development of Varna . The places we are about to integrate (old bunker and various public spaces-in and outside city center) within our program are going to be the scene for inspiration and a subject of collaborations between guest mentors – team members and young participants.
Interaction and empathy between people and an inclusive attitude towards different ethnicities and cultures as well as empowering young women are the topics that we will encourage to develop through creative workshops in our residency.
The problem with the elitization of art and culture and the lack of clear access to cultural events of communities on the outskirts of settlements is big, because most people, especially from marginalized communities, are influenced and led only by mass culture, which narrows their horizons.
As part of our strategy to integrate such communities and develop their sense of belonging, it is our choice of neglected public places to interact over the years. As some of these places have a certain value for our city from a historical architectural or aesthetic point of view. Touching them is a touch to the geographical memory of a culture, nation, community and by living and socializing them through art, we provide an opportunity to reconsider values related to the spirit and history of the place, as well as to pay attention to our internal neglect and the need for continuity and development through empathy.
We welcome VISUAL ARTISTS working in the sphere of installation/film/video/mural and graffiti/performance/sound design etc.
WE PROVIDE THE ARTISTS WITH:
Free of charge participation to all workshops by especially invited mentors
Help in developing personal art projects with the help and guidance by residency mentors
transfer from the airport to the accommodation area and back,
assistance with finding cheap accommodation
materials required for their work (arranged prior to arrival)
promotion and presentation of the produced artwork,
Expenses paid by the artist:
THE SELECTION COMMITTEE will take into consideration the following criteria:
- Presented project plan submitted by the candidate-artist;
- Its relevance to local and international art standards;
- Its feasibility and how artists from different parts of the world and of different backgrounds, using different mediums, may interact, enriching each other’s work processes and results.
START OF RESIDENCY 20 September
20 September arrival and first meeting at The Bookstore
15:00 Workshops start
22- 27 September workshop sessions
Mid presentation 25.09 – 18:00 to 22:30
End of Residency 30.09.2021 ; 11:00 Departure
*Program is indicative and may undergo some changes
ARTISTS PARTICIPANTS AS MENTORS:
Ruby studied her undergraduate in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins specialising in their XD (cross disciplinary) pathway where the focus was in how art engages and works with communities as well as being free in adopting different mediums. She went on to exhibit in Berlin, London, Sofia & Chicago where she won ‘Best of Show’ at the 21st International Open Exhibition at Woman Made Gallery IL in 2018. In recent years she has continued as a multidisciplinary artist and curator but has focused more on Filmmaking as both visual art and narrative cinema. This summer will conclude her Masters in Filmmaking at the University of the West of Scotland where she will have made 3 short films, two fiction and one documentary. Her film work hopes to build unsettling worlds with dark tones, creepy erotica and fragile characters.
Artist Workshop: Make a Short Film
In this workshop you will each produce a 2 minute film to be exhibited in the final presentation of WTAR. We will follow the process through from idea inception, practice pitching, idea development to filming as well as watching and discussing other short form films. The form the film takes is up to you, it could be documentation of your art work or of a performance. It could be an experimental art piece in itself. It could be a documentary or a narrative fiction film. The only constraint is it’s length (2 minutes).
If you have a camera, sound recorder and/or lights then fantastic but the minimum you’ll need to have is a decent camera phone. We will be looking at how best to use lighting, sound, framing and general planning/storyboarding in order to produce the best image without necessarily having the most expensive kit. As artists we are resourceful! And with this in mind the workshop is aimed at artists who are interested in adopting film as part of their toolkit.
The artist leading the workshop will be editing the films (unless you are keen on doing this yourself and have editing software) which is why we have the limit of 2 minutes, to give her time to have the pieces ready for exhibition.
Session on ideas (inception & development) 2 hours
Screening and discussion of short films (mixture of fiction, documentary, artist documentation forms) 1.5 hours
Practice pitch: Artists pitch their ideas and receive feedback & questions from the group 3 hours
Development: Artists develop their ideas and how best to plan for the shoot to minimise post production i.e lighting, sound, framing & storyboarding 4 hours
Artists film all day
In order to take part all you need is a decent phone camera, although if you have a better camera or any other equipment for example sound recorder, lights then fantastic.
Chuyia Chia – https://chuyia.wordpress.com/
Chuyia Chia moved to Singapore in the late 1990s and is now based in Gothenburg. Her artistic training is originally painting, but her main artistic practice is now within the realm of performance and installation art. Chuyia Chia’s artistic direction has developed with of her identity as an immigrant in the 1990s, giving her global outlook and concern. Thus in her work she pays particular attention to environmental responsibility and food, focusing on relationships and the communication between people. Her perspective is often how the body can express these contexts and communicate knowledge and emotions to the viewer. Chuyia has participated and have commissioned international exhibitions, festivals and events in more than 32 countries includes China, Poland, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, France, Belgium, Peru, Argentina, Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Cameroon and so on. Her most recently commission work is the Singapore Biennale 2016.
Haruka Tomatsu – https://kailih.wixsite.com/artwork
She studied Butoh techniques with Setsuko Yamada, Toru Iwashita, and Theater Theory with Shogo Ota. After graduating in 2007-2008 she joined the Glorious Future Dance Company (Director: Kim Ito). 2008 she also started her career as a freelance dancer and performer.
She participated in various performances in Japan as well as internationally.
Since 2013 she has created her own work as a choreographer, dancer and performer.
Therefore she focuses on the relation between existence and absence with a strong approach to space, objects and body in everyday life.
Wotrkshop Concept and Information vol.1
Feel and observe the city of Varna on your body
Masks, disinfection, social distance.
It’s been a year and a half since we started living with Covid-19.
The shape of people’s lives has changed rapidly.
And the distance and relationships between people have changed.
Isn’t the sensation that our bodies feel also changed as a result since
the lifestyle is changing by Covid-19?
In this project,I would like to objectively observe the space in which we
are by using the five senses to feel and output what kind of space we
live in with such a changed body.
Feeling of the body: Not only seeing, but also walking around Varna city
while making maximum use of touch, smell, taste, and hearing, and
expressing the feeling there through installation and performance.
These feelings as the installation are stored in Bunker and shared with
Ginny Sykes- https://ginnysykes.com/about
EXPERTISE: Over a 40 year practice, I have made art to tell stories of personal and historical merit informed by feminism’s resistance to prescriptive or institutional ideas of a universalized female experience. Centering women’s stories is in itself a critique of patriarchal codes that have occupied and over-determined artistic content over millennia of arts production; codes that valorize certain values at the expense of others, lead to dangerous levels of ecological imbalance, wreak havoc on women’s lives, and foster cultures of violence. Within this framework across all the genres of my work, but especially in performance and video, I address subjects of individuation, aging, loss, resiliency. Jung’s theories on alchemy and dreams inspire me to explore ideas of individual and collective unconscious. I use myth and ritual in layered imagery to create symbolic meaning, to unearth the shadow side of a story, and suggest the transforming potential of art to heal the splits within us all.
Ginny Sykes is an interdisciplinary artist inspired by mythology, Jungian psychology, ancient monuments, and dreams. She employs a poetic, layered aesthetic across all genres of her practice, to invite a consideration of the transforming and healing potential of art, and to encourage access to one’s inner world. Selected recent exhibitions in the US and internationally include Legler Regional Library and Woodson Regional Public Library, Chicago Art Source, Woman Made Gallery, and Loyola University Art Museum, Chicago, IL; LACE, Los Angeles, CA; Art Performing Festival, Naples, Italy and Forte Marghera, Venice, Italy; Dryphoto Arte Contemporanea, Prato, Italy; Water Tower Art Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria; top Schillerpalais, Berlin, Germany; Saltillo Contemporary, Saltillo, Mexico; Pinacoteca Communale de Arte Contemporanea, Gaeta, Italy; and Can Gelabert Casal de Cultura, Mallorca, Spain. Sykes taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and in many community based art programs, where she loved working with teenagers. She has created over 40 public art projects, including On the Wings of Water at O’Hare Airport. Sykes holds an MA in Women Studies and Gender Studies from Loyola University, Chicago, IL, a BFA from Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, and studied painting and art history at Studio Cecil Graves in Florence, Italy. When not living in Chicago, she lives in Naples, Italy.
I propose to do a short performance work that will start with my physical body and that transforms into a ritual art object of contemplation that others can interact with.
Daisuke Takeya – https://daisuketakeya.com/
Born and raised in Japan, Daisuke Takeya obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Graduate School of Figurative Art at the New York Academy of Art and received Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. As a live performance artist Daisuke has collaborated with artists from various genres, including classical musicians such as cellist Vernon Regehr, violinist Lynn Kuo, Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble, Les AMIS Ensemble, and deVah Quartet. Daisuke’s interest has been extended to vitalization of communities via art. He has co-directed and performed at Ashita: Artists for Japan, a Tsunami Relief Fundraiser in March, 2011, which featured the visual, music, dance, performance, and literary art communities of Toronto. Daisuke is also a past programming director and board member of Gendai Gallery, an artist and ambassador of ARTBOUND and an organizing committee member of Onagawa Art Season, an art festival at the most devastated town of 2011 Tsunami in Japan. He is currently a co-director of DAICHI Projects, the representative and curator of Field Trip Project, Field Trip Project Asia, and POWER TO THE PEOPLE initiative. He is the executive director of Responding: International Performance Art Festival and Meeting erected in 2018.
Ana Vujić (*1981/Serbia), lives and works in Basel www.anavujic.ch
For years I have been realising large-format drawings with charcoal or ink that focus on the constantly changing conditions of human life. The works often address situations of transformation, the fragility of the social construct and question our role as individuals. In doing so, I am less interested in retracing real images that have already been seen. Rather, the works are about inner pictorial worlds that also tell of opposing emotional worlds through an abstraction of content.
As an artist, I also consciously place my drawings on public city walls or so-called “non-places”. For me, art and everyday life are inseparable.
Ana is invited to do a specially developed project with wall murals in public space as a socially engaged artwork in collaboration with local and other artists.
Ivelina Ivanova www.vimeo.com/krivi
is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sofia. From 2014 to 2017 he studied and lived in London, where he started experimental animation and created several short films, recognized by a number of international festivals. Currently, her main creative activity is in the field of 3D animation, video mapping and interactive installation. Ivelina’s works are with mixed media: painted animation, 2D and 3D digital animation, film and sound collage.Ivelina’s works are with mixed media: painted animation, 2D and 3D digital animation, film and sound collage. From 2020 he holds a Master’s degree in Digital Arts from the National Academy of Arts.
The participants in the residency will be introduced to various techniques for analog and digital animation, digital video image processing and transmedia collage. The ultimate goal of the lessons is to make a collective experimental animated video.
Nina Foltynowicz- sound artist, DJ – https://soundcloud.com/ninchetoo
Nina is a DJ from Silesia, mining area of Poland. When she was 6, she said she doesn’t need to learn how to read, cause she loves music and that’s enough. Her all life is connected with sounds, beats and instruments. If you could use her eyes for a moment, you would see tons of instruments everywhere. Her mixes are a vibbing journeys through many genres, but house and disco are the most perceptible ones.
Malwina Hanna Kleszcz
Highly-creative Visual Media Artist with an extraordinary experience of innovative digital projects, 3D modeling and animation using the best available technical programs. https://www.artstation.com/malware83
Nina and Malwina are going to give workshop together of visual and sound short animation
For the fourth consecutive year, Water Tower Art Residency – a continuation of the eponymous art festival (2006-2016) organised by IME Association – will offer
educational resources, experience exchange with international experts and scope for development of socially engaged art. In the pandemic conditions the 2020 WTAR will take place entirely online. From 7 to 14 September, 15 participants will develop web-based projects, guided by invited international mentors, through individual meetings and group workshops. As usual, results will be presented to the public at the end of the residency, on 15 September – this time, in a live stream from the organiser’s YouTube channel. A solo concert by Martian Tabakov – also transmitted live online – will close this year’s public programme. WTAR 2020 is organised with the support of the USA Embassy in Bulgaria.
This year’s residency is aimed not only at developing projects but also ideas and proposals for future research and development of new practical tools of working in the sphere of socially engaged art, in the aftermath of Covid-19. With the wish to nurture dialogue not just between the residency participants but also including members of the public, three of the events form our program will be open to the public with published links to zoom meetings on our facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/watertowerartfest/
On 12 September, Prerana Reddy will present “Supporting Socially Engaged Art Practice”. In this talk audiences will learn about some of the artists A Blade of Grass has supported to create exchanges, experiences, and structures that highlight seemingly intractable social problems, inspire audiences, and energize folks to participate in and sustain long-term social change work. There will also be a discussion about some of the challenges in sustaining socially engaged art, from creating visibility for process-based work with varying degrees of openness to the public, to how one can evaluate the aesthetics and impacts of socially engaged art. Finally, Prerana will share some of the ways ABOG Fellows have been responding to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the uprisings against racial injustice in the United States.
Prerana is the Director of Programs at A Blade of Grass which nurtures socially engaged art through its Fellowship, events, magazine & more. Prior to joining ABOG, she was the Director of Public Events at the Queens Museum of Art, where in addition to organising their screenings, performances, discussions, and community-based collaborative programs and exhibits both on- and offsite, she developed an intensive arts and social justice program for immigrant youth. She was a Douglass Redd Fellow awarded by the Ford Foundation to emerging leaders in the fields of culture and community development. Reddy also worked as documentary filmmaker and researcher whose work has explored such topics as alternatives to juvenile detention, the history of slavery in New York City, and the 2004 World Social Forum in Mumbai.
On 13 September, 20:00, video art legend Gary Hill will invite audiences to take part in his interactive presentation, “I ask the same questions; you give the same answers”: exploring an early work entitled Primarily Speaking 1981-83 and subsequently using that to launch into a discussion about anything that arises from said viewing.
Gary Hill is an American artist who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Often viewed as one of the foundational artists in video art, based on the single-channel work and video- and sound-based installations of the 1970s and 1980s, he in fact began working in metal sculpture in the late 1960s. Today he is best known for internationally exhibited installations and performance art, concerned as much with innovative language as with technology, and for continuing work in a broad range of media. His longtime work with intermedia explores an array of issues ranging from the physicality of language, synesthesia and perceptual conundrums to ontological space and viewer interactivity. The recipient of many awards, his influential work has been exhibited in most major contemporary art museums worldwide.
On 14 September, Cai Qing The Way of Communication in Art
Cai Qing is a prolific artist, curator, art critic and professor, active in the field of performance art, installation, video and pictures. He spent the 1990s and early 2000s working on projects in Germany and New York, respectively. His extensive curatorial portfolio includes China’s first contemporary art exhibition in a private space, “Trace of Existence” (1998), and “Construction before Destruction” (2008), the last performance show in the Sifo Art Village, He Nan province, before its gentrification.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 15 SEPTEMBER PROGRAM ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Presentations of results of artists on 15th September form 18:30 with streaming life video on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/watertowerartfest/ :
This years participants are:
Satadru Sovan Banduri (India), Nitesh Kushwaha (India), Svetli Evgeniev (Bulgaria), Virginia Zaharieva (Bulgaria), Efrosina Peneva (Bulgaria), Radina Stoimenova (France / Bulgaria), Irina Stoyanova (Bulgaria), Dilyana Stoimenova (Bulgaria), Funda Zeynep Ayguler (Turkey), Nellie Carnes (Portugal), Galena Sardamova, Gergana Ivanova (Bulgaria), Elitsa Ganeva (Bulgaria), Ralitsa Georgieva (Bulgaria) Tsveta Doycheva(Bulgaria)
Followed by streaming live concert of Martyan Tabakov, one of the artists at Studio BELKA from 21:00h.
Action “Fragile tomorrow” during Covid19 by Nia Pushkarova artist and curator
OPEN CALL – 2020 Water Tower Art Residency ONLINE
Deadline for participation: September 3, 2020.
Dates of the residency: September 7-15, 2020. Mentors and guests with presentations (biographies below): Bill Aichison (USA / China), Gary Hill (USA), Daisuke Takeya (Japan / Canada), Albena Mihaylova-Benji / Switzerland), Prerana Reddy (USA), Qing Cai (China/USA)
Participation is FREE, conditions for participation:
- sending a project-proposal in response to the given topic – description below.
- sending a short CV and motivation letter for participation, as well as an indication of a preferred mentor
- knowledge of English (the working language of the program)
Send your requests to participate to email@example.com
Online residency with mentors and end result presented in public and online. In times of post pandemic situation and social distancing we are opening platform for exchange and development of ideas surrounding our everyday strange life since the start of Lockdown. The questions will be raised and answered with the help of our mentors. Some possible variations of themes to work on during residency:
A study of relationships and connections in the new everyday life, in which the physical element is subtracted from the equation.
Where do the boundaries of the individual and the collective consciousness shift when there is no physical boundary and / or interaction (ie the infinite online space)
How cultural heritage is formed without a physical aspect.
The aim of the residency with mentor program is not to finalize a complete art product, but rather define creative ways of dealing with the new situation after the lock-down and its personal and social repercussions.
Bill Aitchison- http://www.billaitchison.co.uk/billaitchison/home.html is a performance artist whose live events have been presented in major museums, galleries, theatres and festivals in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Australia and China. His artworks are held in both private collections and museums. His output is as prolific as it is diverse with projects taking an extremely wide range of forms such as videos, monologues, group events, online encounters, guided tours, photography and much more. Despite this, his work as a whole is recognisable for its formal clarity, ambition of intent, dry humour and innovative use of site and frame. Aitchison has produced artist books, is a popular blogger, has made several works for radio and screen and has had his critical and journalistic articles published in several countries. He has a practice-as-research PhD from Goldsmiths College in the field of performance art, has taught and lectured at graduate and post-graduate level and presented his work and research at numerous conferences worldwide. He is curator of Last Minute Live Art, mentors artists and teaches at Nanjing University in China. Recent projects (2020) include Love in the Time of Corona (CUHK Arts Festival – online), Art of Seduction (LMLA/Monohouse), PAO: Performance Art Olympics (Phoenix Flower Festival Shenzhen), 60 Days of Lockdown (A4 Art Museum Chengdu – online), Way-Losing (LMLA Nanjing) and A Last Minute Manifesto (Hexxy Duxxy Box – online). A symposium, exhibition and publication is planned for later 2020.
British performance artist Bill Aitchison will assist selected artists in the realization of their projects through a series of online meetings. These will take place both as group meetings and as individual sessions during which the specific problems and opportunities that the online festival has created will be considered.
Gary Hill – https://garyhill.com/ (born April 4, 1951) is an American artist who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Often viewed as one of the foundational artists in video art, based on the single-channel work and video- and sound-based installations of the 1970s and 1980s, he in fact began working in metal sculpture in the late 1960s. Today he is best known for internationally exhibited installations and performance art, concerned as much with innovative language as with technology, and for continuing work in a broad range of media. His longtime work with intermedia explores an array of issues ranging from the physicality of language, synesthesia and perceptual conundrums to ontological space and viewer interactivity. The recipient of many awards, his influential work has been exhibited in most major contemporary art museums worldwide.
Daisuke Takeya – https://daisuketakeya.com/
Born and raised in Japan, Daisuke Takeya obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Graduate School of Figurative Art at the New York Academy of Art and received Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, As a live performance artist Daisuke has collaborated with artists from various genres, including classical musicians such as cellist Vernon Regehr, violinist Lynn Kuo, Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble, Les AMIS Ensemble, and deVah Quartet. Daisuke’s interest has been extended to vitalization of communities via art. He has co-directed and performed at Ashita: Artists for Japan, a Tsunami Relief Fundraiser in March, 2011, which featured the visual, music, dance, performance, and literary art communities of Toronto. Daisuke is also a past programming director and board member of Gendai Gallery, an artist and ambassador of ARTBOUND and an organizing committee member of Onagawa Art Season, an art festival at the most devastated town of 2011 Tsunami in Japan. He is currently a co-director of DAICHI Projects, the representative and curator of Field Trip Project, Field Trip Project Asia, and POWER TO THE PEOPLE initiative. He is the executive director of Responding: International Performance Art Festival and Meeting erected in 2018.
Duet is an experimental workshop for online duet performance art consisting of warmup exercises, group discussions and presentation of duet performances among the participants. How do we develop and maintain intimacy between two artists collaborating in distance via devices?
Albena Mihailova – Bendji – https://openartfiles.bg/en/people/1124-albena-mihaylova-bendji
Albena Mihaylova-Bendji was born on 9 June 1959 in Plovdiv. In 1984 she graduated from the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, in a Original graphics class. 1984-1994 she was an active artist with a number of solo exhibitions, participations in international biennials and a winner of awards. At the center of her work is the relationship between the two-dimensional and its spatial equivalent. As a result unique installations and performances are born. In 1989 she was one of the founders of the legendary art group “RUB”. During that time, the artist inspired and lead the organization of one of the first private galleries in Bulgaria – the Akrabov Gallery, which functioned as a resident center for contemporary art, and also she was Associate Professor at the School of Performing Arts in Plovdiv. In 1994 Albena left for Zurich at the invitation of BINZ 39 Foundation as a resident artist. As consequence of this exchange, she has promoted the gallery under the International Resartist Program and organized the exchange of artists, projects and festivals between Bulgaria and Switzerland. In the period 1995-1998 Albena Mihaylova-Bendji specialized in a Master class in Video Art at the Higher Art School of Basel, Switzerland. In 2008, she was nominated for the M-Tel Award for Bulgarian Contemporary Art. Since 2008 Albena Mihaylova-Bendji works as a documentary filmmaker, director and cinematographer. In 2009, she found a platform for cultural exchange, exhibitions and film festivals at Basel – Culturinstitut AM contemporary. Currently the artist works and lives in Basel. Her creative biography includes her membership in the artistic group “VIA Audio Video Art”, her work in the governance of the creative union “VISARTE BASEL” and she leads workshops for Artlink Bern and Solothurn Higher Pedagogical School. She is a member of “Balimage”, an association of filmmakers and video artists.
The workshop she proposed is going to be in groups of 4 for 2 days twice a day on topics of the social distance caused by the current situation, but also the generally existing alienation. The loneliness of the individual in modern times and the compensation through the media. Desired insulation and unwanted. what do we do with ourselves?
Director of Programs
Prerana Reddy is the Director of Programs at A Blade of Grass which nurtures socially engaged art.
Qing Cai – China perfromance artist and Professor at Tianjing Art Academy
The event is made possible with the support of grant from Embassy of USA in Bulgaria
Programme of public events, presenting results from the residency, includes a workshop with American artist Carron Little, performance by writer & artist Virginia Zaharieva, and music party with trohi at the former thermal power plant near “G.M. Dimitrov” metro station
For a third year running, Bulgarian and foreign creative minds will exchange expertise during the Water Tower Art Residency (23 August – 3 September) in Sofia. Organised by the IME Association, the residency incorporates a mentoring scheme, and aims to introduce some of the internationally-adopted progressive, creative social strategies into the local context, as well as acting as a networking opportunity between leading arts professionals and emerging ones. This year’s residency is aimed at artists with projects exploring social engagement, social justice, gift economy, creativity and ecology. Following the format of temporary artistic stay established worldwide, participants in Water Tower Art Residency #3 are expected to immerse themselves in the local context and develop their projects on site, as site-specific art, according to their chosen location. The results will be presented in series of public events, 1-3 September. Partner locations for this year, where works developed during WTAR#3 will be presented, are Sofia’s „ONE Gallery” and former thermal power plant near “G.M. Dimitrov” metro station.
Residency participants will be mentored by three leading names from the American arts world: Sara Reisman, Executive and Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, artist Carron Little, and Rachel Raphaela Gugelberger, Curator & Director of NLE Curatorial Lab (NLE Lab) and co-founder of 1@111. Inclusion of active mentoring scheme this year will allow residency participants to fully test-drive and develop their ideas under personal guidance and with consistent feedback throughout each step of the process, with scheduled one-to-one meetings, as well as peer review sessions.
Members of the public in Sofia will also have an opportunity to meet the invited mentors. On 31 August, at ONE Gallery, Carron Little invites everyone to an open workshop, „Ecology of care”, which aims to create support system that sustains diversity in creative industries. The workshop will start at 4pm, and further details can be found online. An open performance by Carron herself will take place a day earlier, 30 August, also at ONE Gallery, from 7pm. On Monday 2 September, all three of the mentors, Carron Little, Sarah Reisman and Rachel Gugelberger will present their „Good examples and case studies in social development through creative practices” as a public lecture at SofiaLab, hosted by the Sofia Development Association. Starting time 9am.
9 participants in this year’s residency were chosen by an international jury, judging their submitted proposals to an open call set out by IME Association earlier in April. Bulgarian participants are: Maria Tsaneva, project proposal for interactive “art walk”, focus on a complex of sports buildings in Sofia’s “Geo Milev” neighborhood: “Festivalna” hall (Asix Arena), “Academic” stadium, and the unfinished sports hall of the Sofia University; Svetly Evgeniev, project-proposal for installation (video + sculpture); Maria Valterova, project proposal for performance and video installation; KOIN Collective (sound art duo trohi, aka Yoana Robova & Petar Parmakov + visual artists Ivelina Ivanova & Mario Stoynov) with interactive installation, dedicated to the Northern Black Sea coastline and the ecological crisis; Virginia Zaharieva, writer/psychologist/artist, with performance. International participants are: Ana Vujic (Serbia/Switzerland), project-proposal for large-scale drawings and photography, Haruka Tomatsu (Japan), project-proposal for a solo performance + installation, incorporating the concept of “zen mondo” (Japanese: 問答 / Mondo: “questions and answers”; a written collection of dialogues between zen student and master); Uluc Ali Kilic (Turkey), installation proposal, using collected plastic waste to assemble “pictures”, in the vain of stained glass works.
All residency participants will develop their project proposals on site, which leaves the end result unknown until the final day of installation and presentation. On 2 September former thermal power plant next to Sofia’s “G.M. Dimitrov” metro station will be transformed by works of Uluc Ali Kilic, Ana Vujic and Svetly Evegeniev. The alternative playground will open doors to public at 7pm, and the evening’s programme includes performance by Haruka Tomatsu and trohi (Peter Parmakov & Yoana Robova), a sound art and experimental music duo, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Maria Tsaneva, Virginia Zaharieva, KOIN Collective, and Maria Valterova will present their works on 3 September at ONE Gallery – doors open 6.30pm, followed by one-off performance of Virginia Zaharieva (7pm to 7.30pm), and the exhibition will be on display until 13 September. Maria Tsaneva’s work for ONE Gallery will be a result of an “art walk” on 31 August. Haruka Tomatsu and Ana Vujic will present works at both locations.
For up-to-date information on dates, timings, programme & projects details, please follow the Facebook links:
About Water Tower Art Residency (WTAR)
Water Tower Art Residency is the new, independent chapter but, equally, a logical extension of the body of work carried out by IME Association and Water Tower Art Fest – which original format came to an end in 2016, with the 10th anniversary edition, including over 80 contemporary art projects, site-specific works of painting, sculpture, video, photography, installations and performances, from over 10 European countries as well as Brazil, Canada, USA and Japan. Based on years of experience and developed network of participants and partners, the essence of the residency is to maintain the concept and core values set-up in the festival: artistic development of participants and their audiences, creating works in a dedicated context, i.e. site-specific art.
About IME Association
IME Association was set up in 2004 by a group of artists, aiming to revive and restore important, but neglected, Sofia landmarks and buildings, as centres for creative residencies. The first such landmark is the eponymous water tower in the capital’s neighbourhood of “Lozenets”, where in 2006 joint efforts of very practical origins – to clean and clear the space, making its design and architecture available for public viewing – led to the establishment of the overall project for a contemporary art festival in alternative locations. The artist-run initiative „Water Tower Art Fest” was on the map of important cultural events in Sofia, as well as in Europe, and grew from a small local initiative to a space of creative, personal and professional exchange for many. Over the years, “Water Tower Art Fest” became the biggest international platform for ideas and arts exchange based in Bulgaria, attracting over 600 creative practitioners working in the sphere of socially engaged art from all over the world. The buildings discovered and integrated back into the society by IME Association are numerous and each of them presents a unique part of Sofia’s cultural identity. In 2016 WTAF celebrated its 10th anniversary. In July 2017 IME Association curated the very first “site-specific” residency in Bulgaria, gathering under one roof contemporary artists from Japan, Ukraine, China, Serbia, Australia and the UK, whose projects were planned, developed and realised during their 1-week stay in Sofia, in accordance to the sites specifications of the two partner locations, “Poduene” depot and Council Culture Institute House of Culture “Iskur”. To this date, Water Tower Art Residency has two successful editions.
We are happy to announce the project of NGO IME and Aim network in Plovdiv 2019
AIM MEETINGS PLOVDIV 2019 – REACHING NEW AUDIENCES AND TRANSFERRING EXPERIENCE TO NEW ACTORS
Design by Denitsa Toneva
With the coming opportunity of meeting of AIM members in Plovdiv 2019 with local artistic initiatives and form the Balkan region, we will be able to have a more structured dialogue regarding influences artists have through their independent initiatives and at the same time support the ones that are still under development.
AIM Network (https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsInitiativesMeetings/), started at Supermarket independent art fair for artists run initiatives in Stockholm in 2010 https://www.supermarketartfair.com/, in partnership with Candyland Stockholm Water tower art fest is a partner to AIM network since 2014.
AIM Plovdiv 2019 – Local Connections brings together a range of European artist-run initiatives to connect independent Bulgarian art scene with the surrounding regions and internationally. The project builds on AIM Network’s long-term goals to facilitate connections, build new collaborations, strengthen the artist-run scene and make it accessible to the public. It develops the concept of working on a large-scale local basis across different but interconnected neighbouring regions. Despite the state borders, artists and curators often share similar social and cultural questions, common traditions and discourse in contemporary art, yet often they do not have the opportunity to meet in person and share their experience. The project will offer a range of events including public workshops, panel discussion, guided tour and exhibition. AIM Plovdiv 2019 is organised by AIM Network and Water Tower Art Fest with the support of Plovdiv 2019 European Capital of Culture.
AIM Network (Artists’ Initiatives’ Meetings Network) is a European network of artist-run initiatives. It serves as a platform for exchange of experience, sharing of knowledge, increasing of mobility and cooperation between artist-run initiatives, and to raise awareness of the artist-run sector among both professional art world and the broader public. The network has currently eleven artist-run member spaces from across Europe.