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 net.art 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),
etoy.com and ubermorgen.com, IDEA (UK).
R.D.: What are some of the specific projects you worked on within these
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
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 www.bulgaria.com. 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
net.art situation in Bulgaria?
K.T.: What is interesting is that InterSpace started with a net.art project,
Metabolizer by Petko Durmana. (see Web
Projects) On the other
hand, I cannot say that in Bulgaria net.art per se exists. There are
individual artists, who create net.art, among other projects. In InterSpace
Petko Durmana, is more involved in net.art, Faceloading and Metabolizer.
Net.art 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 net.art, I
think the there is no concentrated movement in Bulgaria yet, no consolidated
forum, neither a net.art 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 net.art and net.culture.
R.D.: Thank you and I hope that we will meet you soon in some of the
K.T.: Yes, indeed. Thank you.