World-famous artists ORLAN and Zimoun will be presented for the first time in Bulgaria
From 24 to 28 October, Sofia once again hosts the international digital arts festival DA Fest, which introduces the Bulgarian audience to new artistic practices and significant achievements in the field of digital arts. The festival is organized for the ninth time by the DA LAB Foundation and the National Academy of Arts and invites some of the world's best names in digital arts.
The ninth edition of DA Fest includes exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures, presentations, workshops, which take place in twelve locations in the capital.
The theme of this year's festival is Antibiosis: The Art of Struggle and Survival. Just as microorganisms battle for supremacy in their microscopic realms, the authors in the festival program delve into the intricacies of conflict, contrast, and competition in the human experience and environment. The programme is presented in an accessible way for a wide audience and is suitable for different ages as well as for viewers with an interest in contemporary arts.
Within the framework of DA Fest , ORLAN - one of the most significant French artists with international recognition and a distinct style of her own, using sculpture, photography, performance, music, video, 3D, video games, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics - is coming to Bulgaria for the first time. Always mixed with humour, sometimes parody or even grotesque, her work questions social phenomena. An exhibition of selected ORLAN projects opens at Credo Bonum Gallery on October 25. On 26 October, the Bulgarian public has the chance to learn more about her artistic practice in the lecture "ORLAN: ", which she will give in the Slaveikov Hall of the French Institute.
As part of the festival program, the world-renowned artist Zimoun, who has gained popularity for his impactful site-specific works, presents a large-scale installation specially created for the space of the Academy Gallery. Weaving together simple and functional components, Zimoun builds architectural platforms of sound that express the tension between the ordered patterns of modernism and the chaotic forces of life.
Gallery ONE hosts five works from the festival program. Internationally acclaimed pioneers of interactive art present The Value of Art (Wild Boar), an interactive painting dealing with the economy of attention and the creation of value in the art world. At Gallery ONE, we present the latest project by French artist Alizee Armet, created during her residency at EMAP - European Media Art Platform. She is a guest at DA Fest with the interdisciplinary installation in the field of technology and bio-art "Ghost Plants from Damaged Worlds". In Gallery One, the festival is also showing the four-part video installation The Humors by US-based Yuge Zhou, which explores connections, isolation and longing in natural and urban spaces as sites of shared dreams.
The fifth work is by the Bulgarian artist Kalin Serapionov and is the video portrait "A blonde woman in a red dress and bright lipstick talking on the phone and smoking a cigarette".
The Hungarian collective Binaura is presenting at the Liszt Institute in Sofia "Future Meme Device", creating imaginary scenarios based on works of magical realism. Binaura are Ágoston Nagy & Bence Samu and they create algorithmic installations using free open source tools.
The duo Scenocosme are Gregory Lasserre and Anais met den Ancx from France and their interactive works exist thanks to the contact with the viewers. Scenocosme create hybrids between technology and living or natural elements. In Sofia, viewers have the opportunity to interact with their work Akousmaflore, which now inhabits the foyer of the Heat Centre and will remain there until 28 October.
The DA Fest screening programme  presents a selection of short films at the most prestigious digital arts forum Ars Electronica. On 27 October, the Goethe-Institut hosts two of their programmes, Welcome to Planet B and The Electronic Theatre. Again, an interdisciplinary installation BLACKBOX AI can be seen there, which explores gender bias in artificial intelligence in the form of a maze. It was created as a collaboration between Anastasia Nefeli Vidaki, Lida Zacharopoulou, Mihaela Dobreva, Tea Rukavina and Vivian Stamou within the regional project EthicAI=Labs of the Goethe-Institut.
DA Fest's packed programme also includes three performances, which will be presented in the halls of Toplotsentrala. "Flying Bodies Across the Field" is a contemporary bok-o-bok dance performance for four performers and a swarm of drones, exploring the disappearance of bees and the use of drones for pollination. Immersion is a new form of live action: an interactive and participatory electro-performance in which the audience becomes both participant and spectator. The author of the project is the French musician Verlatour, who arrives in Sofia together with his team of multimedia, code, video and light engineers. In the third performance of the festival, Amsterdam-based video artist Finn Borath explores death and infinity.
"Through a variety of digital artworks, we invite the audience to consider the parallels between the struggles for existence of the microbial world and the multifaceted challenges facing humanity today. "Antibiosis: The Art of Struggle and Survival" is a testament to the power of art to illuminate the hidden struggles and triumphs of existence, reminding us that the dance of conflict and collaboration is a universal and timeless phenomenon," say DA Fest organizers Prof. Dr. Venelin Shurelov and Dr. Galina Dimitrova-Dimova.
In addition to Kalin Serapionov, the selection of Bulgarian artists in DA Fest  includes the scholarship holders from the DA LAB e-valuation 3 platform for young artists: Yana Vassileva, the trohi and Raw Lab collectives; as well as students from the Intermedia programme of the University of Veliko Tarnovo and the Master's programme Digital Arts of the National Academy of Arts.
Full information about the programme, participants and their works can be found on the festival's website da-fest.bg
The exhibitions, video screenings and presentations are free admission. The performances have an entrance fee of BGN 20/30 and the concerts BGN 15/20. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
This year DA Fest is part of the 3XPER1ENCE platform, bringing together three international festivals happening at the same time in Sofia - ACT Festival for Free Theatre, Da Fest and Aerowaves in Sofia.
Partners of DA Fest  are Ministry of Culture, National Culture Fund, Sofia Municipality - Culture Programme, Prohelvetia, Embassy of Austria, Embassy of France, French Institute in Bulgaria and Digital November Programme, Liszt Institute / Hungarian Cultural Institute, Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, EMAP, FURNA art & culture, Linz Kultur, OÖ Kultur. The exhibition Akousmaflore is realized with the partnership of the French Institute in Bulgaria, RCCI Toplocentrala and the support of Sodexo Bulgaria.
DA Fest  is part of the Sofia Municipality's Cultural Events Calendar for 2023.
The initiative is supported by ESTHEDERM Bulgaria, Sodexo Bulgaria, DSK Bank, Novatel, Odessos Pack and Schwarz IT.
- Academy Gallery and other spaces at the National Academy of Art, ul. Shipka 1 - Gallery and Great Hall of Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, 1, Shipka Str. Budapest 1 - Slaveikov Hall of the French Institute, square Petko Slaveykov 3 - Gallery of the Liszt Institute / Hungarian Cultural Institute Sofia, ul. Aksakov 16 - Triangular Tower of Serdika at RHM Sofia, ul. Knyaginya Maria Luisa 16 - Heat Plant - Regional Centre for Contemporary Arts, 16, Knyaginya Maria Luisa Str. Emil Bersinski 5 - Credo Bonum Gallery, ul. Slavyanska 2 - Gallery ONE, 1 Dyakon Ignatii Str. - Derida Dance Centre, 1, Deacon Ignatius Str. Tsar Samuil 32 - Club DOM and Club Atelier.
For 14 years now DA Fest has given the Bulgarian audience the opportunity to meet live the world stars of the digital arts scene and see their works within the festival program. The aim of the festival is to develop the audience of digital arts and to give an opportunity to a number of young Bulgarian artists to perform, including those selected in the e-valuation platform of DA LAB. This year's rich programme takes place in 12 locations and combines lectures and workshops for artists with exhibitions, performances and concerts for the general public.
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