The end of the year is approaching, and 2023 will be very special and exciting for us as 180° – a laboratory for innovative art celebrates its 10th anniversary. We are happy that despite the challenges the world and art have faced, 180° has managed to continue to inspire, provoke and fill summer days with art and art experiments. We feel privileged that over 183 incredible artists from around the world have participated in the last nine editions of the festival. We can’t wait until July 22, 2023, when the tenth edition of 180° – a Laboratory for Innovative Art will begin.
And in the last issue of 180° Circle of this year, we will share with you the impressions of the author Hristo Kaloyanov, about our cultural education program 180° Community Lab, which took place in July 2022.
Hristo Kaloyanov is a freelance curator and critic. He graduated with a BA in Cultural Studies and an MA in Arts and Contemporary Studies at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski. From 2016 to 2021 he worked in the advertising department of Sfumato Theatre Workshop. Periodically he publishes theatre and art criticism. Since 2022 he has been the editor of the archive/database platform for Bulgarian contemporary art Open Art Files.
Usually the beginning of July is marked by desolation of this city, long vacations and a stillness that settles over the dusty streets. Traditionally, at the end of of that same month in various parts of that same city, obscure to some where and why exactly then, a series of events dedicated to the innovative approach and collaboration in the arts happen, organized around the common ground of conversation and experiment.
A preliminary conversation between participants (or the so called 180 degrees – Community Lab) became an open discussion and space for a wide range of individuals with similar interests, similar questions and different practice – as context and experience, which managed to introduce some of the participants, give a direction for the festival and the explorations inherent in this format, as well as to engage the audience by blurring the line between participants and audience. In fact, in this fluid transition from participant to audience and vice versa, the informal atmosphere around each performance and exchange in the form of conversation or experience is one of the key elements of the 180 Degrees – Innovative Art Lab festival. In an effort to communicate vividly with its audience, the festival actually relies on the innovation in the interaction between a live performance and its, also live, experience by the other.
The Lab for students and young professionals once again brings together artists from different countries and artistic fields in an attempt to discover common lines of work and fruitful differences.
The courtyard space of “100 Chairs” was chaotically transformed to meet thе scenographic explorations in the physical performance, exploring the metamorphosis of human body into an insect-like one. The movement of this experience invited the audience to return again to the courtyard of the Goethe-Institut, where the transformative process continued on the external staircase on the inside of the building. Moving from there, the audience also had to abandon the normal anthropocentric passing and imitate the movements seen in order to slip through the ropes wrapped around the ladder like a spider’s web.
After this whirlpool of movements up and down through different levels, staircases and obstacles, again in the dark room of the hall, the audience was enveloped by a multimedia installation of light and sound.
One of the distinctive effects of this encounter inevitably turned out to be the clash of the calm body of the audience and the irrepressible youthful impulse behind the artistic experiment.
On the last day of the festival, the performance-result of the improvisation lab and the chamber music took place, led by flautist Dietmar Wiesner. The location is also one of the key points in the festival’s history – its peripheral location, industrial architecture and multiple rooms suggest a visit and a performance outside the comfort of the institutional hall and closer to the experimental nature of the artistic performance.
The evening began in a chamber hall where the audience stood next to the young performers, who had been working for several days with the co-founder of the Ensemble Modern. Among the musical instruments were double bass, violins, cymbals, the expected flute and other more unconventional instruments, adding a dynamic to the classical sounding string and wind instruments. Several short compositions that formed the musical introduction of the performance, and musicians then took turns to conduct the performance of the others, putting at the centre the improvisation and dynamic interplay between the roles of an ensemble.
Listen to an excerpt from the Improvisation Lab:
What are holidays without music? The artists of the 2022 edition and the 180° team have created a festive playlist to wish you happy holidays!