180° Circle

Issue 3 I July 2022

Welcome to the pages of Circle Issue 3, dedicated to the 9th edition of 180° – Laboratory for innovative art Festival. 

Over the past nine years, we and the audience have followed a common path with an unknown destination that has certainly changed us from 2014. One of the main missions of 180° is to try to introduce the audience to the “artistic process” – what it is and what artists do all day long. In fact, the events of the festival are not a final product, but a first artistic experience/experiment of a creative collaboration. The work of the artist is a very complex process and does not consist only of being “productive” and contributing to the leisure of the audience. It requires a lot of time as well as the freedom to take risks and make mistakes – a kind of ‘experimenting’. But it is only through this process that we can evolve, because if we only repeat the safe and familiar we are spinning in a vicious circle. On the 23rd to the 29th we will be able to follow the process of over 20 international artists for the ninth year in a row, and here you can read the stories of theatre artist Florence Ruckstuhl and 180° for 2022 graphic designer Nikol Decheva. Happy reading!

Alexander Hadjiev,

Curator of 180° – Laboratory for Innovative Art

Alexandar Hadjiev at 180° Photo credit: Iliyan Ruzhin

Meet

Nikol Decheva

Photo credit: Nikol Decheva

Introduce yourself and your artistic path so far?

I’m Nikol. I’m doing graphic design and I use it to explore things.

Before being invited as the graphic designer of this year’s edition you visited some of the previous performances of the festival. What is the role of the audience in the events of 180°?

To question. The good thing about these pieces/performances is that they are not finished, so then you can feel more apparent the process through which the teams went. The imperfections are traces of ideas.

What was your inspiration for creating this year’s 180° visual identity? How was your artistic process?

Existinct – the theme of the 9.edition.

One afternoon I was randomly watching the clouds and these clouds at that particular moment were moving too fast to catch any resemblance or image in them. I was feeling their vulnerability, their temporary consistency, their disintegration. They existed but not really. So, that’s how it began. Afterwards the process was more systematic. I was exploring how to counterbalance the idea of the cloud, how to disturb it and then the ‘monolith’ appeared. It’s a big black 180 sign. Nothing more, nothing less. The process was imagining scenarios in my head, creating one like that of a monolith in the middle of clouds.

Photo credit: Nikol Decheva

Share with us your last interdisciplinary collaborative work. How was your experience and tell us more about the process behind it.

I’ll explain about the one that is happening now. It’s a project where I collaborate with architects for a space that will be open for the public. I’m making the visual communication of the space – signs, deciding colors, details. So, I’m learning about spaces, about physicality and the intimacy you can feel even in public spaces. I’m learning how to manifest using design. Anyway, the most important thing up until now is what happened with the people I work with. I got them to understand what I’m doing (i.e. graphic design) and they got me to understand their world (i.e. architecture). It’s good and challenging.

Describe 180° in 180 characters?(if it’s possible)

180 is weird and mixed. 180 is half a year in one’s life. 180 is not 360.

Where and when can we see you?

Sometimes on the streets and at some places or in a conversation with me.

About Nikol: Nikol is a graphic designer from Sofia. She graduated in Poster and Visual Communication at the National Academy of Arts in Bulgaria. Her practice takes form in formats such as posters, print media, visual identities.

https://nicolside.com/

Meet

Florence Ruckstuhl

Photo credit: Charlotte Boesling

Introduce yourself and your artistic path so far?

My name is Florence (she/her), I am a dramaturg, a theatre artist, a Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff-Tendencies, an emerging spinster, a heavy smoker and a lover of french fries. My artistic path was shaped a lot by a lack of technique. I was not educated in a specific discipline or actually learnt how to do art. I was educated in a theoretic field. I learned how to think and talk about art, but I am always figuring out how to actually make it happen. For me this lead to my actual state of trying to do things from a place of joy. Affirming what I like to do. This year I had an epiphany: I was working on a video installation with texts and was struggling to decide on what font I should use. A good friend told me: Just take the one you like – you are the person that has to look at it the most. I think she nailed it down perfectly.

 

In 2019 you were in Team 1 and since 2020 you are moderator and one of the brains behind the opening and closing events of the festival. What was the trigger for you to get involved so deeply in 180°?

This is a hard question – that actually never came to mind before. I would describe it as: it just happened. When I try to put it in words or think of a concrete trigger I would say: it just felt right. I liked the people I am working with – we had a good time. I liked the concept of the Festival – the emphasizing of the process and the independency from a „good“ product that comes with this concept. I liked Sofia. So Triggers I would say: People, Process instead of Product, The City.

What topic follows you mostly at the moment in your artistic work? How do you challenge yourself with it?

Right now I am thinking a lot about the notion of „being animated“ and what this not on can mean in a theatre Context. A piece that feels like an animated movie? Objects behaving on their own? Things being animated by humans or humans being animated by things? Ghost, Spirits, Stories and Creatures inhabiting the Blackbox? For me, the big challenge of this question is: But how can something be animated, when it is always me, who drags this something on a stage and make it seem to be independent?

And then there is a big question on parasitic behavior in the context of a performance. There is a Blackbox, human performer(s), a piece of scenography. Who is whose parasite? Who gains something for something else. These are notions my thoughts and experiments are circling around.

Photo credit: Kalina Georgieva

What is the most valuable aspect of intercultural artistic collaboration? How do you deal with frictions in the team?

To me personally it is the not-knowing-each other. The not-sharing-references. The not-having-a-common-ground before we come together to work. Having to get to know each other, through and while working. I think all of these facts, can produce encounters and thoughts, that would not happen in other constellations. But at the same time, all of these facts can be the reason for frictions in the team.

And how to deal with frictions? Hard question. By not forgetting, that the whole thing is about all of the above. That nothing „world-changing“ needs to come out of this encounter. By trying to have fun together and dare to do things that might come easy.

Describe 180° in 180 characters?(if it’s possible)

Summercamp for Artists.

 

Photo: Patrick Faurot

Why did you become an artist?

To be honest: I could not come up with a better plan.

Tell us more about your next project/what’s coming up/what are you working on now?

I was speaking about being animated; parasitic relationships. This is what I am currently working on, hoping all of the related questions can crystallize around or inside a little house standing in a blackbox and materialize in textile techniques like knitting, crochet, embroidery and so on. But no idea when this is going to happen. In autumn I do the dramaturgy for a „dance of the dead“ so questions on existing, on presence and absence and ghosts will continue to accompany me 🙂

Where and when can we see you?

In Sofia, of course! At this years’ edition of the festival. I am looking forward to it!

About Florence: Florence Ruckstuhl studied applied theater studies in Gießen (DE). She works as an independent dramaturg and theater artist. Her work deals with questions on emancipated reception and imagination, possibilities of Community and Collaboration from a queer-feminist point of view, aesthetics of destruction, non-human actors on stages and an artistic practice at the interface between visual and performative arts.

Copyright 2022 © All rights Reserved.

Visual Identity: Nikol Decheva; Web Design: Alexandar Hadjiev

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