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.