Artistic experiment turns Sofia 180°

The eponymous platform for contemporary music, dance, theatre and design is going live once again

Photo: Kiril Peychev

The upcoming eighth edition of the 180° festival, one of the most innovative events for contemporary art in Bulgaria, will be held between 24 and 30 July, taking over various locations in Sofia. Following the pandemic-plagued 2020, in which the festival adopted a hybrid - mostly digital - format, this year the platform for contemporary music, dance, theatre and design is making a return to in-person events in its quest to bring together foreign and Bulgarian artists and give them space to exchange creative approaches and innovations in the field of contemporary art.

The festival's selection features 10 foreign participants, including musicians, composers, dancers, actors, visual artists, sound designers, scenographers, etc. In its eight-year history, the platform has proven its ability to highlight the latest trends in different areas of contemporary art. For some artists, 180° is just another step in their development, for others - a Sofia debut, an introduction to the Bulgaria audience even. The common denominator is the festival's theme, which this year is ZOOM. Participants are tasked with coming up with their own definition and using it as a starting point for their artistic experiment. As part of the festival week, the artists have the creative freedom to settle on their own meaning of the word, flesh out their own interpretation of the theme and present their most unorthodox and bold ideas.

A new addition to and a highlight of this year's programme is In-Situ: Friction, an educational project that is a collaboration between 180° and the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA, Germany), a conservatory of music specialising in the contemporary genre. The project allows Bulgarian and German students to study the cultural values of Sofia and Frankfurt am Main, inspiring them to create new and innovative formats and cultural projects and explore the many faces of those two cities. The project is part of the Ulysses Network.

As is tradition, the festival has an open call for professional and amateur directors over the age of 18 with the Videomotion competition for short, mute films. The videos selected by the international jury will get an improvised soundtrack thanks to a live performance by the guest musicians at 180° and will be screened on the last day of the festival. The deadline for submitting videos is 23 July, the theme is ZOOM. The videos have to be up to one minute long and filmed on a phone or a tablet.

The eighth edition of 180° will kick off on 24 July with an event at the Goethe-Institut Bulgaria to introduce the festival participants. The organisers have prepared a surprise experiment for the audience in attendance. The festival will conclude on 30 July at Fabrica 126 with an official ceremony, which will dare members of the audience to take on the role of performers.

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