Krassimir Terziev
Media artist Krassimir Terziev is one of the founding members of the first independent New Media Art Center in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was in Montreal as participant in an exhibition project called 'Hold Your Breath.' This exchange project between Canadian and Bulgarian artists was organized by the curator of the Contemporary Art Center in Plovdiv, Galina Lardeva, and BLUNT, a group of young Canadian artists and curators whose main activity is cultural exchange in contemporary art between artists in Canada and Central and Eastern Europe.

Rossitza Daskalova: You are one of the founding members of the first independent New Media Art Center in Sofia, Bulgaria, called InterSpace. How did it all start?

Krassimir Terziev: At the very beginning we were only three media artists: Petko Durmana, my self and Ventzi Zankov, who is no longer with InterSpace and has established an e-zine, called Zet_Mag. There was no existing structure in Bulgaria which can support the kind of work we do, so we had to create a structure. We went independent and we had no financing. The Bulgarian Photographic Association gave us working space in their Photolab in The Academy for Theater and Film in Sofia. All the equipment we had was a PC on which we can do video montage and multimedia. We were working on commercial projects to raise money; we made web sites and other corporate stuff. Since then, we often work as DJs which helps us in our creative work and the contact with the young, post-communist audience. Our goal is to create an open platform for contemporary art projects linked to new technologies such as installations in real space, interventions in public spaces, video art and new media exhibitions, as well as and electronic sound projects.

R.D.: What is the scope of activities in InterSpace at the present time?

K.T.: We produce and present multimedia art projects. Recently, we have started building a documentation database on contemporary art which involves new technologies. The ongoing work is on the organization of forums, exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops and various multimedia shows. InterSpace has also plunged into educational activities: training and also development of an electronic publication on contemporary Bulgarian arts.

R.D.: This shows that for the past two years you have achieved your goals. What was your strategy and how did you succeed in getting there?

K.T.: I would say that we are in the process of achieving them. Due to the open concept of InterSpace, the membership has increased and now there are ten members in our team. One of the main purposes for establishing the Media Art Center InterSpace is create a forum for the society of media artists in Bulgaria and enable their active collaboration in an international context. Therefore, we put an emphasis on networking and developed international partnerships for specific projects. This how we also started receiving additional funding from Soros Center for the Arts, The Goethe Institute, The British Council and Daniel Langlois Foundation in Montreal, as well as some sponsors from the private sector. The InterSpace partnerships include The Netherlands Media Art Institute Montevideo/TBA, P.A.R.K.4dtv and De Balie in Amsterdam, The Kitchen, the Thundergulch New Media Art Center and LMCC in NYC, Van Gogh TV (former East Germany), and, IDEA (UK).

R.D.: What are some of the specific projects you worked on within these partnerships?

K.T. : In 1998 we initiated a project with Van Gogh TV (Germany, former East Germany) which consisted in creating a 3D "sots" (socialist) world, something like a storage space for the collective "sots" memory. This projects was not completed and then, again, I think that the "sots" theme is quite outdated by now. There are new issues at hand. Then, in April 1999 we invited the Group for Media Arts Van Gogh TV - USIS who conducted a "Hands on VMS (Virtual museum systems), lead workshop at NATFIZ (The National Academy for Theater and Film in Sofia). In May the same year, within the Media Arts Program which is part of the International Youth Film Festival, held at the Cinema Palace in Sofia, InterSpace invited artists from the Media Arts Institute "MONTEVIDEO/TBA" (Holland) and the Center for Media Arts "THE KITCHEN" (USA). We organized a screening of videos produced at these centers and of a Bulgarian video-art program. In November 1999 we set up an on-line presentation of the De Balie Center for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam, held within the framework of the "Ten Years After The Wall" project.

R.D.: You mentioned that you were also involved in educational activities. What are the steps taken in this direction?

K.T.: For the Media Arts Festival, Sofia, in autumn 1999 we produced the CD-ROM project END which was funded by the Arts Development Fund of the European Program PHARE and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Sofia. "END" was presented jointly with a pilot training course for electronic publishing, "Real/Virtual" multimedia installations, a VJ/DJ Show and a Conference "Art, Technology, Society 1999." A second training course in electronic publishing, video and audio in multimedia and on the Internet, was held in December 1999, in collaboration with the Internet Club MODUS and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce.

Recently, given the Bulgarian context of an emerging media arts and technology world, we came up with the idea of merging different aspects in the acquisition of skills in the use of new technology: art, design and science. For 2001 - 2002 we planned the Designers Network Labs a collaborative training project sponsored by the EU Leonardo Program and lead by InterSpace Media Arts Center in Sofia, and by AMX in London, UK. The participants will be chosen with a competition organized by InterSpace; they will acquire skills and experience in new media studios in the UK, studying graphic design, animation, and programming, using Director, Flash, ASP, Java, as well as other essential new media design and authoring tools.

R.D.: Tell us about your most recent and most exciting projects?

K.T.: Our main interests are working in collaborative teams, using new technologies and exploring different concepts of Space and finding creative ways of interpreting them in a specific artwork. The most recent cyber-space project was presented at Medi@terra 2000 in Athens. It is an open web project, called Schizoid Architecture in which nine artists from InterSpace, Manchester and Finland are involved. The scheme is simple: each participant creates an environment taken from his own home or work space with personal symbols, fetishes and objects which isolate or protect him/her from the outside world. These environments, viewed from a panoramic perspective, include interactive objects Then, they are linked with a random link generator, so that a complex liquid architectural space can result, in which there only one exit.

In February 2000 we created the multimedia show Technopoliten" in the metro station "Opalchenska." Then, in September 2000, one of the most exciting collaborative projects, called Urban Cycles, took place in a public art zone, the Palace of Culture, a classical example of totalitarian architecture; after the fall of the communist government it turned into a sort of a mall, while in the large halls, cultural activities - concerts, exhibitions, etc. - are still being held. It was an interactive video installation project created in collaboration between InterSpace and IDEA, Manchester, UK. Curated by Galina Dimitrova, Urban Cycles included artists Jen Southern, Nykolay Chakarov, 'Ant Colony'; Anneke Pettican 'Look East, Look West'; Maria Merova, 'Clean Up', Jenna Collins, 'Home', Steve Symons, 'Urban Genome Project', Gary Peploe "HOLD/NUDGE, Petko Dourmana, 'Turning on or My tomb is a cool oasis on the city's heat' and Angele Myers, ESC to a City'. I liked this show because it was really like a laboratory, an experimental project in which creation is really being approached as a process.

R.D.: And what are you planning to work on next?

K.T.: Our next most important long-term project is one which is of a rather social significance. In Bulgaria there are still a lot of gaps to be filled, and a lot of work to be done in the field of contemporary art. We are negotiating with the Soros foundation in Sofia to start a server for art and culture in Bulgaria, a cultural portal site We are also planning another collaborative, called "European Cultural Server", which was initiated by ZKM (Germany).

R.D.: In conclusion, I would like to ask you, how would you evaluate the situation in Bulgaria?

K.T.: What is interesting is that InterSpace started with a project, Metabolizer by Petko Durmana. (see Web Projects) On the other hand, I cannot say that in Bulgaria per se exists. There are individual artists, who create, among other projects. In InterSpace Petko Durmana, is more involved in, Faceloading and Metabolizer. is only emerging in Bulgaria. The art community is still divided between contemporary art and traditional art. I guess, the idea of a pluralistic art scene is slowly coming to life. In the case of, I think the there is no concentrated movement in Bulgaria yet, no consolidated forum, neither a scene which has enough vitality and electricity. However, there are some artists who, even though they have not declared or defined themselves as net.artists, are heading in this direction through their work which focusing more and more on and net.culture.

R.D.: Thank you and I hope that we will meet you soon in some of the Inter-Spaces.

K.T.: Yes, indeed. Thank you.



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