lo3eto.brief.talks: ALEKSANDRA LASKOVA

Between October 22 and November 6, 2022, at lo3eto was presented Aleksandra Laskova’s  solo show under the title WEIGHT SHIFT, curated by Vanya Grozdanova

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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (installation view outside)
photo by Alina Papzova

The bruise is an interconnection of the soul and the body in a joint crash. It is a memory, a sign reminding of a shape you once lived, a mark that is allowed to last, the prostheses that we ourselves add to our self-association. Heavy, sticky, chronic. Until seen from another perspective.
The exhibition “Weight Shift” worked on the topic of the achievement of that shift – while browsing gently through intimate childhood memories embraced by a grown-up woman on the edge of entering her own maturity.
The works shown by the artist are placed in a contradiction of “in” and “out”. Acrylic paintings follow memories of harsh experiences stamped on a gentle inner world during family-matters contradictions. The construction of memories allows for the interlocking of facts and imagination, disclosing its own reality inhabited by our parallel self only until it decides to leave that plot for good. Sculptural assemblages reveal house-like objects made of former kitchen cupboards (that used to be present in the real apartment of the artist during her childhood) filled with toy-like objects. These sculptures intuitively observe the coping mechanism that bruises built for themselves to endure. Relocating the objects associated with the active idea of the past to an almost deserted place, leaving them to the will of the natural environment, is to be distinguished as an artistic and ritualistic gesture.
All are taken out, taken down, and exposed, thus burning the connection.

Aleksandra Laskova (b. 1991) is a visual artist, who also writes poetry, produces music, and has practiced contemporary dance. Her artistic education began at NATFA-Sofia (Scenography) and developed at NAA-Sofia (Textiles). In her work she experiments with various media such as collage, textile, digital photography, video, painting, assemblage. In her practice, she explores the intimate world and trauma, which she draws out at an intersection with social constructs. Her works have been presented in various group exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad – in traditional or non-conventional exhibition spaces, also in urban public space, as well as in the digital environment of social media. Some of those projects are: Contemporary Art Exhibition, within the 25th Biennale of Humor and Satire in Art: Economy of Means, 2022 (Gabrovo); the group show “Particularl Impulse” curated by Valko Chobanov, part of the program of FLUCA 2020 (Plovdiv); ART START 2020 with curators Lars Nordby, Stefka Tsaneva and Vesela Nozharova (at Credo Bonum, Sofia); ÖSSZEFONÓDÓ SZÁLAK, 2020, in MKISZ (Budapest); Onomatepoya 9 (Plovdiv); “Taking patriarchy apart” (2020) at Klub der polnischen Versager (Berlin); “Invisible Cities” – a project for artistic interventions in public space, curated by eXAF, part of the program of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019; the Mini Textile exhibition (2019), presented at Sofia Press Gallery-bookstore, etc. The present exhibition is the first solo show of the artist.



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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (opening, the artist with friends-guests)
photo by Alina Papzova



4 ch(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (detail)
photo by Alexandra Laskova


What is Art to you?
ALEKSANDRA: Art is how you experience life. I’ve had periods in which I’ve considered it mainly a way to express my individuality or to reflect my feelings about the world right back at it, but recently I’m discovering that both consuming and creating art are no different than living itself. Like eating or sleeping, basically – part of the human experience. 

How do you refer to yourself as a working artist and what do you sense as your direction as one?
ALEKSANDRA: I am surely an imposter. This is the feeling that overwhelms the idea of me as an artist. Probably this is why I delve into very personal and private moments in my work – I counterbalance the feeling of intruding with the sensation of oversharing.


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (details in the working process)
photo by Aleksandra Laskova

What/ maybe who inspires you to work?
ALEKSANDRA: To me, it feels like I, like all humans,  am inspired and curious at my core. I get frequently sidetracked and paralyzed by the horrors and wonders of everyday life, but feeling inspired feels like motion, like the kinetic fiber of fire.
I sometimes spend long painful periods feeling separated from this spark. And then, like magic the same people, alcohol, films, books, and travels that kept me from the nature of doing, return me right back to it. 

Which could be listed as the highlights / guiding points in your practice so far?
ALEKSANDRA: My work consists of two things – crosspoints and collages. I am interested in the intersection between our personal bubbles and those of others. Mixing things, especially mediums, so I can add perceived layers to my work – be it actual collages or digital/physical crossover (for which reason I work with AR), centers me – it just feels right and true to me in a way minimalism doesn’t.


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (installation view, detail)
photo by Aleksandra Laskova


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (installation view, detail)
photo by Aleksandra Laskova


Do you consider your practice as a somewhat “working with demons” approach? And is there a topic that scares you from approaching it?
ALEKSANDRA: For sure. Life is working with demons :) I wouldn’t say scared, but I definitely feel uncomfortable when I use my lived experience in my work. I can’t say there aren’t topics I am avoiding at the moment, as I don’t feel brave enough to express them, but I am slowly moving closer to stories of death and hatred and trying to find a soft or at least non-abrasive way of telling those. Art is definitely therapeutic as a way to air out and reorganize suffering.


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (installation view, detail)
photo by Aleksandra Laskova


Could you share more about your creative process in general? And how do you go digging a topic?
ALEKSANDRA: My process usually starts in bed, staring at the ceiling at night. This is when I feel my sharpest. I take thinking walks also, but in my bed, before I fall asleep is where I do a large portion of the thinking. I love mapping out all details of what I need and when long before I start working, all in my head –  it gives me a sense of calm.
Then I gather references or go on a midnight wikipedia rabbit hole search for information. Sometimes there are books or songs that remind me of the topic at hand, and maybe I write my own little tune for the project. For Weight Shift I was working in the apartment where everything I was reminiscing about happened, so I also listened to the music I used to listen to when I was little to bring me back in time.


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (installation view, detail)
photo by Aleksandra Laskova


How long have you worked on this exact exhibition project?
ALEKSANDRA: The idea was inspired by my reality – in May of 2022 I moved back into the apartment in my childhood in a neighborhood with a questionable reputation in Sofia. I took all the time between then and the exhibition itself in October of the same year to reflect on what has happened in my childhood and make peace with my living space.

What is this solo show manifesting?
ALEKSANDRA: I’d say liberation. Getting rid of past grievances in a ritualistic manner. Communicating trauma in a way that felt empowering. 


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (opening)
photo by Cossie Kokich

What is ahead in the near and further future of your creative practice?
ALEKSANDRA: I am still strongly interested in personal experiences and am going to explore femininity and performative aristism in my next works. I want, however, to try opening myself to topics outside the human experience as a personal affair, and try exploring collective themes. The pandemic and more recently – the war, have mobilized a lot of artists but it made me feel numb and incapable of experiencing my feelings through art specifically. I want to explore this blockage in the future.


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (opening outside)
photo by Cossie Kokich


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (detail)
photo by Alina Papzova


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (detail)
photo by Alina Papzova


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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (detail)
photo by Alina Papzova

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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (detail)
photo by Alina Papzova

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(c) Aleksandra Laskova, WEIGHT SHIFT (opening)
photo by Alina Papzova



(c) Prepared by Vanya Grozdanova, 2022

lo3eto.brief.talks: MAGDALENA GINCHEVA

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photo by Pavlina Shkenderova


KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE is the first solo exhibition of the Bulgarian artist Magdalena Gincheva, which took place at lo3eto between the 26th of August and the 8th of September 2022, and was curated by Vanya Grozdanova


Magdalena Gincheva completed a bachelor’s and then a master’s program in visual arts at the Academy of Music Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv. In artistic practice, developed within the span of around ten years, the artist took part in various group exhibitions: A thing that looks like another thing (2021), curated by Valko Chobanov, presented in the FLUCA program at KvARTal – Sofia; FLORA and FAUNA (2019) – the ninth consecutive exhibition from the Onomatopoeia project, presented at the Gavazov Studio in Plovdiv; ON! Media Arts #pz (2017), curated by Vanya Grozdanova, presented at KDK – Pazardzhik; DARK LIGHTS: félin amour (2014) – curated by eXAF and presented at eXAF’s project space in Plovdiv as part of the NIGHT 11 program, etc.

The exhibition KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE  is a performance of the “allowed” creative explosion. It formulates aesthetical and philosophical stimuli, encountered by the artist while working on the project. The savagery, the ritualism, the heritage of late antiquity, the rural setting, the genetic code, the magic, and the imagination. To a certain extent, the project was inspired by the very place where it was presented and contains site-specific elements, integrating data from the stories of the place in the form of impressions.


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(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova

Here is a brief talk with the artist, following the presentation of the exhibition at lo3eto:


Who is Magdalena Gincheva?
MAGDALENA: There are many poetic definitions flowing through the air for everyone, waiting for some future day with a pretty pattern and dreamy mood. But I don’t wonder every day.

What brought you to art?
MAGDALENA: Maybe they are coincidences and probabilities against some funny determinism. Impressions of thoughts that love inspiration and ideas to collect.

What role does it (art) have in your life?
MAGDALENA:  It is like the diamond rain of Uranus to me. Just so amazing. That’s all I need most of the time.

Is there anything irreplaceable that provokes your creative process?
MAGDALENA: What provokes my creative process and I would say is irreplaceable has to do with the ability to be often impressed by specific aesthetic ideas and take great satisfaction in doing so, generating a constant creative level of mind that I really adore. So even before to have started the work process, I am already overflowing with sparkling happiness.

Describe in short to us what was it like for you to work at lo3eto?
MAGDALENA: I always thought that I wanted to make an exhibition in such a place in nature, and I really liked the idea and all the interactions that arose as a result.

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(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by M.Gincheva


How does your recent solo show – KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE – at lo3eto relate to your previous artistic practice, and what makes it a different story?
MAGDALENA: The current exhibition smoothly follows the layers that appeared in my previous artistic practices. What is most different about the current exhibition is that this time I had the opportunity to work and experiment more in the field of sculpture and of course the lo3eto space itself.

What is it you want to do next?
MAGDALENA: I would like to keep discovering new and exciting things in art, keep making art, and have the time and environment (that I like) to realize future ideas.



photo by Pavlina Shkenderova



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(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by M.Gincheva



(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by M. Gincheva


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(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by M. Gincheva


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(c) Magdalena Gincheva, KIND OF PRETTY MUCH EXISTING AROUND THE GRAPE (installation view)
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova




(c) Prepared by Vanya Grozdanova, 2022

lo3eto.brief.talks: VALKO CHOBANOV


2b_Pavlina Skenderova(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova 


From June 7 to June 15, 2022 lo3eto hosted its first exhibition – A Carefree Visit To a Vain Party, a solo show by Valko Chobanov

A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party reveals a very personal poetic approach to visual creation proposed by the artist Valko Chobanov – too distinguishable in his constant ride on the concepts of artistic exploitation. It is the second solo show the artist does in 2022, together with the curator Vanya Grozdanova, winking to the former one presented in March and April 2022 in the space of ICA – Sofia under the title An Otherworldly Backup Plan For A Vicarious And Accidental Visit To An Ineffable Afterparty.

The narrative is again very imaginative, and in this show, it is literally elfin. It celebrates the summer solstice, it pours itself from the deepest soul transformations, accumulating suffering and ecstasy, bursting with knowledge, understanding, simplicity, joy, also calm still outrageous wisdom.

A broad story of elements builds the complete project, starting outside, going inside, and burning it out, literally. The artist builds sculptural objects from clay, mixing them with objects of various origins, including some of nature found in the nearby surrounding. The whole show erects nostalgia. But in an overcoming fun-filled manner of handling and going further. It opens pores and crashes into the brain cells. Using colors, light and curves, repeating patterns and chants, it glitters the viewer, purifies and uplifts as a treat.


Valko Chobanov is a visual artist and an independent curator.
Born in 1991 in Plovdiv. He graduated in Scenography at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv, and Digital Arts at the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria.
He works in the media of painting, video art, and performance art.
He has participated in various group exhibitions and projects in Bulgaria and abroad.
In 2017 he had his first solo exhibition „Inorganic / Organic ”, presented at Cu29 coffee&gallery (Plovdiv). Valko Chobanov is the BAZA / Young Visual Artists Awards winner in 2019. His curatorial practice includes various projects such as “My Dear Provincialist” (2017), realized together with the curator Victoria Draganova in Swimming Pool, Sofia, the solo exhibition of Dimitar Shopov “Aunt Milka” (2018) in ICA – Sofia, the group exhibition “Particular Impulse” (2020), which took place in the open stage for art and culture FLUCA in Plovdiv, and later the program of exhibitions for the entire 2021 season of FLUCA. Valko Chobanov is among the initiators and organizers of the annual group exhibition “Onomatopoeia”, which is characterized by the participation of many young Plovdiv artists (realized annually since 2011).


The artist answers a few brief questions,
following the opening of the exhibition at lo3eto:

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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Valko Chobanov


1a_Tsvetomira Borisova

(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Tsvetomira Borisova


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova

How would you describe “A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party” to a curious stranger who didn’t join it?
VALKO: To the people who did not join I can never describe the event completely because it was more than an exhibition or a party to me personally it was more about the sense of connecting with the people and the nature around us.

What do you value most about realizing this project?
VALKO: It was my first solo show that was not in a gallery space. And it was actively utilizing elements like fire, wind, water, wild flowers, sunlight (some of the works were solar-powered), and dead branches from the ex-vineyard.

How do you remember the opening in three words?
VALKO: Carefree, vain, party

What was the background that brought you to this carefree visit of a vain party in June 2022?
VALKO: I have worked with natural elements and themes in my art practice since the beginning of it. This was an attempt of mixing natural and fantasy elements as well as drawing influence from the psychedelic festival culture in its many forms. And as always in my practice, I try to mix a healthy dose of kitsch and absurdist visuals.


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Tsvetomira Borisova


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova


Which part of your professional practice keeps you more high – that of an artist or that of a curator?
VALKO: Without a doubt my work as an artist.

Share with us some of the intangible ingredients that keep you going.
VALKO: Nature/internet

Where do you imagine yourself heading next?
VALKO: I would like to keep working on my art if possible. But making it as a professional artist in Bulgaria I think is impossible If you are not willing to compromise with taking commissions or working a side job. But still, I hope I can do it and be happy doing it.

2a_Tsvetomira Borisova(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Tsvetomira Borisova


6b_Pavlina Shlenderova(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Pavlina Shkenderova 


8a_credit_Valko Chobanov.

(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Valko Chobanov


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Valko Chobanov


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (detail)
photo by Tsvetomira Borisova


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(c) Valko Chobanov, A Carefree Visit to a Vain Party (process)
photo by Tsvetomira Borisova



In June
Gems, pool, wings, and glitter.
The summer solstice in coins.



(c) Prepared by Vanya Grozdanova, 2022

Sofia Underground 2018 – Open Call for Participation


Sofia Underground is an independent participatory and inclusive community-oriented initiative dedicated to serve as a platform for flexible and experimental showcasing of performance art and other contemporary art forms.
Presenting works across a dynamic range of unique performances, presentations, lectures, screenings, exhibitions, public interventions, electronic music parties and other events, Sofia Underground acts like a critical bridge between the local and the international art scenes and between emerging and established performance art practitioners, activists and enthusiasts.

In 2017 Sofia Underground marked its 20th anniversary and closed a chapter in it’s history. Over 65 participants from more than 30 countries took part in the event, spread over 8 locations, and a week-long program – the longest and most intense edition of the oldest festival for contemporary and performance art in Bulgaria. It asked and answered a lot of questions related to time, space and durability.

In 2018 Sofia Underground will present the traditional three modules – live art, talks and an exhibition, although it will return with another approach to the artists and the public, conceptualized as a reflection over the feedback of its experience so far.

Physically participating artists will be personally invited to realize specially developed projects. It will also feature an exhibition with carefully selected via open call video documentation of performance art works.

SU open call



Two simple words questioning the present state of our mere existence as humans.

What is now? What is contemporary in present-continuous tense? What is contemporary art and the role of the audience now and here?
What happens now when we are constantly viewing, posting, sharing, co-existing, co-producing, co-creating and reach a state of living gone elusive?
What now when we can’t just shut technology off?
Addictions and newly formed psychological diseases are deeply rooted in our everyday life, while anything stored in computerized form is vulnerable to breakdown and obsolescence.*
What now when tech-sphere already generates its own living tissue, thus integrating with biology and eventually nature and technology become one?
Now what? How can we be relevant with the ever changing now?
In a world that’s increasingly non-fixable, answers, solutions, alternatives can always be given, but what are those applicable to now?

*As proposed by Bruce Sterling more than a decade ago in 2004 in his article Delete our cultural heritage?

The open call for participation in the upcoming 2018 edition of Sofia Underground could be downloaded here.

About Antibody-ness as a Form of Expression


Adam Rose and April Lynn are Chicago based artists involved with performance art who are also thrilled about presenting their work in various contexts around the world. In the middle of their world tour this summer they had a chat with Ivo Ivanov (Sofia Underground) about influences and what is it to be an antibody performance artist on the road.



Ivo Ivanov (II): So, I guess the first thing I should ask you is: what does performance  art mean to you? Do you have your own definition for that? Can you say that what you do is performance art?

Adam Rose (AR): For me performance art now means a space where new forms of expression can exist. Originally it comes from visual art, whereas dance comes from the traditional performing arts, but there are some forms of radicalized dance that cross into performance, or look like performance art. What we’re doing is more radicalization of traditional forms like music and dance.



Palamartsa, Bulgaria, 2016 ©Ivo Ivanov



II: You’re a classically trained musician. How did you get involved in performance art and why?

AR: I studied music at Ohio State University. My cello teacher told me I lacked body awareness and that my technique was suffering as a result. He had me take an Alexander technique course that focused on body awareness and posture. Soon after I began to improvise movement on my own and dropped out of college, because I had lost interest in classical music. I took two years off and got involved in activism. Then I went to Antioch College where I took a course that had a dance component and liked it a lot. We had this bio portrait project where I made a piece about Antonin Artaud that was a dance and got a good reaction. The dance professor Jill Becker encouraged me to continue and I ended up graduating with a Bachelors in Dance. That’s how it began. Afterwards I moved to Chicago and founded Antibody Corporation.


II: What is the concept behind Antibody Corporation? How does it relate to performance art?

AR: The central concept of Antibody Corporation is the antibody itself. The word “antibody” implies a body against itself, or some form of “negative” body. With that we play with the idea of negation, negativity and conflict: conflict as a form of action, conflict as process — to set into motion the mind-body conflict. Or to turn the traditional mind-body hierarchy on its head. Body over mind. Prioritizing the body as the origin of culture.


II: So, the mind is not the origin?

AR: This is a philosophical and scientific problem: the division between the mind and body. You can’t separate the mind from the body. Most of those wrong ideas come from religion, which claims spirit as the origin of everything. With antibody I take this apart and rearrange it to reintegrate mind and body. It’s an endless conflict that produces many new associations and combinations of ideas.


II: Last year you participated in the Sofia Underground festival doing three separate performances, which strongly involved the audience. How did that feel? What can you tell me about that experience?

AR: Last year I was touring with Non Grata as part of their nomadic Diverse Universe festival. I joined the tour through six different countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Greece and Germany. I was really impressed with the organization of Sofia Underground and the spirit of the whole event. The industrial nature of the literally underground hall provided a good context for a dance that involved the audience. Also, as part of my practice I like to just take photos of buildings and empty spaces imagining the way an animal body might move through, or against them. It relates to Antibody’s aesthetic, the element of corporate mimicry, or critique of institutions. The first performance in Sofia was a dance with written choreography based on common words for the body’s parts i.e. hands, arms, feet, legs and head. I invited two audience members to join the performance by executing a simple routine of hops. I also composed the accompanying music. The second performance in Sofia was an improvised talk about E-Prime, a form of English that eliminates use of the verb “to be”. I framed it as an English teaching exercise and it was partly humorous, so the audience reacted with amusement.



I felt Sofia has similarities with my hometown of Chicago. Chicago is a working class city with a lot of empty and repurposed industrial spaces like factories and warehouses. My last performance for Sofia Underground in Plovdiv relied the most on audience interaction. I asked the audience members to sing parts of an old Motown song with me. Then I invited them to play inside a wooden structure in front of the Kosmos cinema, as if it were a forest. We moved around inside with our eyes closed to activate the tactile sense. People used their voices to help guide each other trough this kind of maze. Local artist Boyan Avramov played accompanying acoustic sound with a chain and a metal lid. I remember him saying that I made a miracle by getting the hesitant audience to participate in the performance.


II: Is that your usual approach? How important is interaction for you?

AR: It’s not always necessary, but on that tour I was focused on involving the audience; asking them to translate bits of text into the local language. I used a text like: “Art is bullshit. Murder is wrong. The sky is blue.” – cliché statements that all use the verb “to be. I‘d say that audience participation usually requires some use of language. And dance cannot easily communicate instructions or specific ideas to an audience. Dance lies mostly outside of translation. I try to reveal the gap between dance and language.


II: Now you’ve started to use your own invented language. Was it the next logical step to bridge the physical expression and the mindset programmed by language?

AR: It was a natural progression to deepen our critique of the English language by developing our own as an alternative. It is called Lashtek. The name simply means language”. Lashtek excludes the verb “to be” and uses a Verb-Object-Subject word order. Using this grammatical form prioritizes action and movement as central features of reality. It challenges the idea of fixed identity promoted by the use of English i.e. “I am male. I am American.” It aims to clarify an understanding of a world in motion, rather than a permanent, unchanging world. We live in a world full of transformation, movement and conflict. For me the logic of fixed identity leads to depressing emotional conclusions. To say “I am sad,” implies that I will always be sad, instead of accurately viewing my emotions as transient and always changing. Further, this relates to dance as an art form founded on the idea of movement, of a body in motion.



Pärnu, Estonia, 2016 ©Caroline Sada


II: You’re back in Bulgaria now with your partner April Lynn. How did you guys meet? April, why did you decide to join him for this tour?

April Lynn (AL): We’ve known each other for many years. In 2011 we were part of a group show by our friend Glen Jennings. We have a lot a mutual creative interests. I don’t have a degree in dancing, but in visual arts, but I love to dance and perform and I’ve been doing this my whole life. And last fall he invited me to perform with him and everything happened kind of naturally. I’ve realized I’ve been antibody my whole life.


II: What does that mean?

AL: Growing up as a tall biracial girl in Northern Minnesota wasn’t easy. So, I’ve always felt a disconnect within myself and interactions with other people socially. I was marked as different because of my height and skin tone. I always stood out, never being able to blend in. I was aware of this disconnection and was trying to find a way to fit into the society around me and to fit into my own body.


II: Was performance the way to express this discomfort? Does it help?

AL: I’m 31, so at this point I know my own body very well. I’ve been performing forever quite unintentionally. Recently I feel like I’m performing with a clear intention, an idea of what we want to evoke, though my movements are quite improvised in the moment directed by the space and the people around.


II: Is your work site-specific then? How important is the local context to what you do?

AL: We try to incorporate the audience with our own language, wherever we perform, responding to the space we’re in. Utilizing the differences in each structure we perform in, taking advantage of all aspects of the space, good or bad, is a practice that is common for many artists.


EKKM Estonia

EKKM Estonia ©Pille Laiakask


II: You’re near the end of your European tour. What are the highlights so far? Where was the most interesting location or audience?

AR: We made six different performances in Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia. Each place we performed in had something interesting about it. Our first performance at REACTOR in Cluj, Romania, had a really engaged audience. They asked us a lot of questions afterwards.

AL: Someone gave me a handcrafted necklace as a gift after the show. I feel like I have friends in Cluj now.

AR: In Bucharest, Romania we performed at Green Hours jazz-café, an underground club which has been in existence since 1994. Through talking with its owner, Voicu Radescu, we got to learn some of its history as one of the oldest alternative spaces in Bucharest.

EKKMi Kohvik hosted the performance we did in Tallinn, Estonia. Seeing the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) and performing there was interesting for me, because I work as a security guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The EKKM did not have security guards. The building it was housed in began as a squat that later became official and legalized. Because of this, it seems they can take more risks than larger institutions and show work that is new and exciting.

AL: We performed in an outdoor space in front of the Museum. We both scraped our knees and shed a little blood on the gravel area. There was an old metal tower-like structure there that we climbed up as part of the end of our performance. We had a great time!

AR: In Pärnu, Estonia, we performed at the Kunstnike Maja, as part of a group exhibition organized by Non Grata and others. In this way, the tour came full circle from last year, performing as part of Diverse Universe hosted by Non Grata again. This was the last time we performed Antiworlds in Europe, and for that reason it felt the most intense and complete in some way.

AL: I agree, performing in Pärnu was a perfect end to the European leg of the tour. A few hours later we found ourselves swimming in the Baltic Sea at night. The water was cold, but it was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. I almost got hypothermia. I had a great time!


Palamartsa, Bulgaria, 2016

Palamartsa, Bulgaria, 2016 ©Ivo Ivanov


II: You just did a performance in the central square of Palamartsa village. Nothing like that has ever happened there. People didn’t know what to expect the surprise element was on your side. What are your impressions? Did it feel very different from a show in an institutionalized space with a more educated crowd?

AL: Yes, of course it felt different. The number of British ex-pats living in the village was surprising, and many of them came to see us perform. At the beginning of the performance, I read a text in Lashtek, then walked around, asking audience members to read parts of it out loud as well. One woman refused at first, wanting to know if the words we were asking her to read had any meaning. So many different personalities were present. A group of people had just come from the nearby pub. Afterwards a young girl and her father talked with us. She said she liked our movement, and wanted a photo with us. She became maybe Antibody’s youngest fan. If children see our performances, they’re usually scared by it. So this was noteworthy.

AR: In Palamartsa’s main square, we began our performance in front of a monument dedicated to fallen soldiers. This was important for me, because I like monuments and that sense of history. Now, some decades later some weird artists from the US are performing in front of it with an android tablet and bluetooth speaker, dancing around. I’m not sure if something like we did has never happened in Palamartsa before. I feel like events always repeat themselves. Maybe many years ago a group of performers created something strangely similar there and everyone has forgotten.

Before and after the performance, we handed out fliers with info about the performance, and our Lashtek alphabet printed on the back. We had never shared our alphabet before. It felt correct and meaningful to share it for the first time in Bulgaria, as this is the place where the Cyrillic alphabet originated. A couple who own a house in Palamartsa, and also live in Morocco, afterwards wanted to know how to say and spell “magical love” in our language. I wrote it out for them in the alphabet:


They liked it, and said they would name their house in Palamartsa this.


II: How should Antibody Corporation change in order to stay current within the contemporary art scene?

Antibody Corporation changes naturally on its own, just as everything else does. We don’t try to stay relevant, but instead approach current events and trends from a certain oblique angle. We have arrived now in Shiryaevo, Russia, where we will present as part of the Shiryaevo Biennale of contemporary art. The Biennale began in 1999, and this is its ninth iteration, yet we are the first US citizens to participate in it, which is an honor. The subject of this year’s Biennale is CASH, and we are approaching this by thinking about physical currency in relation to the materiality of the body, and dance as a medium of exchange between bodies.

From what we hear, it seems there is not a big scene or market for contemporary art in Russia. But this makes it a more interesting context to make performance in. Once again, we are staying in a rural village like Palamartsa, and preparing a performance to present at the dock by the Volga River.

After this, we will land in New York city, the home of the US’ art market and financial markets.


Shiryaevo, Russia, 2016

Shiryaevo, Russia, 2016 ©Antibody Corporation


Further Antibody related view you are to enjoy following these links:





Sofia Underground as a Form of Protest

This interview was first published online in Bulgarian in the portal Culture.bg on the 3rd of Mai 2016.
We reissue it in English language with the kind permission of the author and the media.


Sofia Underground was held for the twelfth time from the 19th until the 24th of April 2016. Its main stage for a second year in a row was the electro-control room of the National Palace of Culture.
A conversation between Daniela Radeva and Yovo Panchev, organizer of the festival.


D.R.: Yovo where is this festival going to?

Y.P.: Sofia Underground has a very flexible form. We define it as a festival rather because of the lack of other word, or just because it’s easier. It’s maximum close to the mood, the feeling – social, spiritual, emotional in certain moment. This “sense” that the festival developed with the years is, perhaps, it’s most curious quality. It worked out as a effect from one moderately open selection, but also from our hooligan approach towards our work. It’s been organized as one organizes a strike or a protest, not like a professional festival with the parameters and the attitude, which other festivals  have. We do it with our own means and the impermanent support by some institutions (we mainly thank to Gaudenz B. Ruf). This allows us to maintain the character of the “underground”, independently from the location of happening, the content, the topic, even from the participants. In this sense it is a serious exercise as a artistic practice for us as organizers.

The period 1997 – 2003 is the “first generation” of the festival, created then by Ruen Ruenov. From 2007 to 2015 is provisionally the “second generation”. Following is the “new generation” I hope. I’m just finishing a collection of texts and images about the “second generation” with working title “Below In The Underground”. Because our goal is to investigate border forms, the borders of art and the meaning, how far those forms can cary content, message, thesis – that’s why in this generation we have a lot of noise, experimental, a lot of non-artists, various border attempts, even though mostly those are borders only for one generation. Alas, the lack of cultural memory is a insuperable factor in our culture. When we put out a variety of practices, acts, gigs, attitudes, artworks in our context, in that frame, which is presumably one dark “maze”, we test how what functions, how it gets done, does it work, how it speaks, which are the new for us expression means, languages.

A strike or a protest you say – agains what is Sofia Underground protesting?

That’s what I’ve explained, Sofia Underground is a form of protest, a laboratory for possible conclusions, solutions. The topics of the protest are changing with the curatorial concepts, with the annual tittles. But the energy and, I hope, the meaning of the underground, what makes it more than a festival, is that it shows live art. The art of action, which, besides performance, is the art of acting, of including, of activating in much broader definition. I am talking about the distance between the festival and the people, who participate as audience. Because they are not audience, they participate as audience.


Geeske Janßen from Germany deals with the inner conflict with the body.


We allow ourselves some liberties and we have certain reservations according the ex officio attitude towards art, declared by some of the players in the local scene… and around the world, of course. They call it professionalism. We call it trading.

Art can save the world, but the art market won’t participate.

Have you been asked about how SU is collaborating with institutions like National Palace of Culture, Union of Bulgarian Artists (UBA), Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art (SAMCA)? Why there have to be institutional galleries as partners? And also, did some of these institutions protested agains that the event is “underground” as character, conception, i.e. anti-institutional in it’s nature?

Institutions are a very important thing. Terribly important in our epoch. I am a official in a institution for almost 10 years now. I have always strived to help and work with institutions, not only for the festival, because they have to be activated, to become alive, to be reminded of their roles and responsibilities in society and often to be guided.
When we made our “institution” in the Studio Dauhaus space (later it disappeared physically, the building was demolished), we passed into a ephemeral nomadic platform, which brought added value to other spaces. It gathered content, it stratified cultural layers of the contemporary, often underrated artistic practices. I think we helped a lot of places, such as Vlaikova, the firdge and Plastelin amongst others in their first years.
But of course, about partnership with UBA, SAMCA – it’s because those institutions have to be included, to be reminded of the potential they have. And our strength is in the imagination. Usually it’s missing in institutions. Without imagination nothing happens, there’s no energy, no strength for action.
Let’s not forget also, if we get back to the beginning of the question, that we do everything not only because we like art, but also out of social engagement and position.

According to me sometimes even “underground” places lack imagination. What do you think about the underground in Sofia and in Brussels? Make a comparison.

There’s no comparison, there’s no base for a parallel. Sofia Underground is a name that has gained some meanings.

I mean your overall impression from the scenes.

According to imagination and places, I think, we passed long ago by the for-the-sake of doing some stuff in interesting places. Now it’s a subject of interest for advertisers, the pope rules now the warehouses and yuzinas, even literally.

Is there underground in Sofia?

Well, this question has already been asked to me.
There’s more to be desired, of course. But there are also settings, which are interesting and difficult to reach. There is some stuff happening. With the gradual increase of social isolation and the crisis, in which we cycle, the production and the content of these circles also increases.

I think they will say one day, that in the beginning of the 21st century in Sofia there was no underground, as we say now that a while ago there were no dissidents amongst the artists.

Popularity and information change as they want trough history. In some time the people will say what they have been told to say. Only in the underground of the future some truth about the past will be known, some un-manipulated seed from the truth. So, I believe in the underground of the future.

Generally I think that there’s no reason to make ourselves famous and to fit in history. It’s full with butt-heads, but it has also some dilettantes like us. We don’t last centuries and, as I said before, our haven is imagination and the energy it brings, not the history, but the legend.

What is the topic of SU this year?

“Inner conflicts”. This year curator and author of the concept is Ivo Ivanov. Until now he co-curated different programs of SU. Thanks to the extension of the team with our collaborators from exaf.org – Vanya Grozdanova and Rad Gyulemetov, the festival developed horizontally and reached more international participants. This year, even though we don’t have main funding, is а peak according to the number of foreign artists.


Lia Ikkos from London is taking part in this year’s festival.


The topic “Inner Conflicts” is very exiting for Ivo, so he developed a conception that rests on the choice of future – attitude towards the outer world and one self, the responsibility.

I wanted you to share your opinion about the different artistic scenes as someone who’s between Brussels and Sofia. And also to say something about the performative character of SU –  why the audience expects a exhibition, but it’s in itself one big performance. Would you organize a event like this in Brussels?

Alternative scenes are very different. In Brussels I’m especially impressed by the curatorial exhibitions and the museums. i.e the work with art, the topics and the society as a mediator. The exhibitions in some nice galleries in Brussels really show exceptional curation – co-inventing, upgrading over the works, introducing of new uses of classical forms. Demonstrating attitude towards art which makes you not only to respect, but also to get more acquainted with the work, the thesis, the author’s point of view. In this rich bourgeois society, with it’s pampering and compensations, the art scene is a polite space for intellectual debate. Or rather a space for polite debate.
This is how one creator from our “underground” translates himself into the scene here – Ivo Dimchev – and crushes some layers, causes excitement, brings charge. Other question is that Ivo Dimchev’s work is not entirely of local character.

Event like this in Brussels I don’t engage to imagine. There are enough people here who do that and it’s not my job.
That’s why I include myself only in our practice and context, which needs modeling and improvement.

As far as my “solo career” as curator and artist, it is not only provoked by woe, but also from practice that gives meaning and makes bearing of things more interesting. The position of active interpreter is a zone of comfort, or at least
sanitary zone. Everybody who deals with art understands and appreciates that, I think, that’s why also we remain in the “zone”.

To get back to the question about Brussels and Sofia. Here [in Brussels Ed.] there are a lot of good practices, developed system, infrastructure, relations, levels, horizontal and vertical borders in the art world, that define the coordinates of every artistic action. As long as it has positive sides, as for example the purely practical “good practices”, it also has its negatives. We don’t have these negative sides. We have others, but with a bit more character and work they are overcomed. We cannot be trivial in our attitude to art and it’s role (the role it must have) in society. I don’t speak as a idealist, but as a practitioner.

Our infrastructure will improve if we import a row of practices from the world scenes. Everyone will benefit from that.
It’s very easy to organize a contemporary art fair without scathe, but not a saloon of galleries. Some well working residential programs also. Protection of syndical and other rights and various stuff, which UBA and MC [Ministry of Culture Ed.] have to do. The chitalishta in Belgium for example – meaning municipal culture centers – and even in neighboring Serbia, have open calls for projects, residencies, they have sense for contemporary, or at least actual art, and not only interest in traditions, folk and crafts. What else is there to say?

Beuys or Duchamp?


Yovo, is this interview a performance according to you?


Yovo Panchev is a curator, art critic and artist. He graduated cultural studies and political science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.  Founder and co-organizer of one of the first independent art spaces in Sofia, Studio Dauhaus. he is also a organizer of the Sofia Underground Festival. Currently he works in the Permanent representation of Bulgaria in EU in Brussels.


Sofia Underground 2016 – Inner Conflicts

Sofia Underground ’16 – a festival for performance and border art forms – has just finished its 12th edition, built over the concept Inner Conflicts and realized between 19 and 24 April in a few various locations in the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. The program of the event presented over 60 artists, coming from 13 different countries. It was created through the selection of this year’s festival curator – Ivaylo Ivanov, who has chosen the participants stepping on an open call for artist acts based on the announced concept.

The main program of the festival, the so called Underground, happened in two following days in the weekend, taking place in the industrial underground space of the Electro-control hall of the National Palace of Culture (near its building Lumiere Cinema), which for a second subsequent year the organizers of the event manage to integrate due to the needs of the independent contemporary cultural practices.

The intensive and rich program presented various performance acts – diverse in character and expressiveness, while enduring from 7 p. m. on Friday and 5 p. m. on Saturday till 3 a. m. during the night, slowing transforming in a culminating way to content of audio-visual performances in the field of electronic music and media arts. As in previous years, this time again, in addition to the program of performances to the attention of the public, were presented a screening program of video art works and a few art installations.

SU '16

Following its already somehow established status of a platform, which is presenting and connecting independent artists in the field of contemporary art practices, in ’16 Sofia Underground again managed to set a program, balanced between Bulgarian and foreign participants, as well as between established and emerging artists, thus encouraging their interaction and sharing of experience, while supporting the development of the local art scene. The involvement of the audience, which is another important focus in the programming of the event, in this edition of the festival was provoked by the interactive performances as well as through the special supporting program of the festival.

SU '16

The warming up part of the program, named Higher ground, gave the audience the opportunity to attend some introductory for the discourse of the event lectures and artist talks by local and guest artists. They were held at the places of the NG / Sofia Arsenal Museum for Contemporary Art (in which collection actually, is included the documentation of the first editions of Sofia Underground), also, the “Man and Earth” National Museum and the “Red House” Centre for Culture and Debate. Sofia Underground 2016 ended with a post-program, named Overground, within which metaphorically, as a representation of a kind of a sociocultural “inner conflict”, in the festival was integrated one, locally active during the past years, public debate and the protest related to it.


SU '16



The artists, presented at Sofia Underground 2016 – Inner Conflicts:

Andreas Mares (АТ), Andrey Hinkov (BG), Arch. Iassen Markov & Divine Design (BG/DE), Arch. Philip Bitrakov (BG), Daliah Zipper (DE), Daniela Marcozzi (IT/DE), Desislava Tsoneva-Chumma & Olga Yocheva (BG/DE), Fabiano Mixo (BR/DE), france rose & Helle Grøndahl – Art[]Gender[]Art (US/NO), Frances Kay (UK), Geeske Jansen (DE), Georgi Yamaliev feat. Nino Gomez (BG), Hilda Kahra (SE/FI), Ilina Konsulova (BG), interference (IT), Iren Petrova & Violina Ivanova (BG), Ivan Yamaliev (BG), Jacek Sienkiewicz (PL), Janine Eisenächer (DE), kek (TR), Krefer & Matsu (BR), Kristin Zlatanova & Petya Mukova (BG), Lea Pischke (DE/FR/UK), Lia Ikkos & Daniel Hernandez (UK), Luthien (VE), Marcel Sparmann (DE), Marian Tzenov & gang (BG), Martin Penev (BG), Mira Jankova (BG), Natasa Prljevic & Joshua Nierodzinski (SR/US), Nellie Borisova (BG), Olia Sosnovskaya (BY), Orlin Dvoryanov & Maya Antova-Mayoto (BG), Prodan Markov (BG/DE), Radoslav Maglov (BG), RoboKnob (BG), Ronald Bal (NL), Rositsa Getsova (BG), Sara French (IE), Veronika Prejdarova (BG), Yanko Andonov (BG), YvesO (BG), Yvonne Costa & Diogo Maia (FR/PT).

The festival Sofia Underground 2016 is realized by Studio DAUHAUS and eXAF.org, in cooperation with the Congress Center of the National Palace of Culture, and with the support of the Polish Cultural Institute in Sofia and Gaudenz B. Ruf Award for Contemporary Bulgarian Art. Additional support for the event was received by the European Cultural Foundation, Goethe-Institut Berlin, Goethe-Institut Munich, State Institute for Culture to the Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, OCB and V/HOD – platform for documentary arts.

* * *

The organizers are grateful to all the large number of volunteers, which actively supported the preparation and the realization of the event, as well as specially thank to TimeHeroes.org for their support in our work with the volunteers.

We also thank to all artists, who participated in Sofia Underground 2016, being open and supportive and who helped us conduct a content of quality, no matter the lack of financial and institutional support, which were the conditions of the 2016 edition of the festival.

Our team is expressing gratitude to the team of DNA – space for contemporary dance and performance, which helped us in the realization of the dance performance in our program.

We are thankful to all those of you who decided to stand behind us, while doing Sofia Underground 2016. And, last but not least, we greet our special audience!

Get ready for the upcoming next explicit edition Sofia Underground 2017 – when the festival is having its 20th anniversary!

SU’16 team

SU '16

DARK LIGHTS: félin amour @ Night ’15, Plovdiv



Visual identity: So Many Stories To Tell

Steffi Weismann @ Sofia Underground 2015


Just before the opening of Sofia Underground 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting one of our international artists- Steffi Weismann. We talked about her long-term relationship with machines and the performance she has prepared for us tomorrow. Make sure you don’t miss it. 


About Steffi Weismann

I work with any sort of live art. Combining sounds, voices, using my own body, sometimes video. I am interested in the live situations, to create a performance that is unique and interacts with the audience, with the current situation and, of course, the place.  So you can say I never repeat a performance, it doesn’t happen in the same way. It’s always a combination of prepared performance an improvisation. My work is a process itself. I need the contact with the audience in order to develop it. It changes with every performance and I try to use the experience I’ve gained. I’m not an improviser, at least not completely. I have a concept that keeps my performance together, that I work on, but also a great part of it I leave open for improvisation. Communication is a key word for me. Using not only words, but images and sounds in order to communicate.


I am interested in the human- machine, interface and relationship. Ten years ago I started working with do it yourself technologies and building little machines and robots. Five years ago I begun working with this instrument that I brought to Sofia. I call it the lap-strap. It is a sound-belt, allows me to move with sounds. It is independent in a way that all of it’s parts are on my body, the amplifiers, the mixer, the microphone and other interfaces. With this equipment I can record right away- audience reaction, for example- and mix it. Instant composing- a mixture between the movements of the body and music and sounds.



I interact with machines in my everyday life, so I like to bring this into my artistic work. I have another project in which I communicate with my computer, it knows more about me than I do myself, it’s my coach in a way. I did this 15 years ago, when this wasn’t such an obvious topic, the computer having this collection of data, keeping our identity. For me it is very important to look at this human- machine communication. And I find it also very funny. I don’t see it only in a critical way, there is a humorous side to it. Because people often treat machines like… people. Like someone who is close to you and you have an actual relationship with. And I find it’s important to make a comment about it, take a closer look at our behavior around machines.


There are people working on programs, that I think can be dangerous. Programs that control people. But if I chose to be afraid instead of looking for my own way to incorporate technology in my work, this wouldn’t be a solution. So I started creating my ideas throughout technology, use it as a tool. Machines aren’t good, nor bad, they are a possibility.

As a performance artist, I think, it is also very important to use your own body, voice, senses and not use too much technology. Because you can loose too much time and focus. If you concentrate too much over a technical problem, you wouldn’t be as focused on the interaction with people.



About coming to Bulgaria 

It’s the first time I am here. And I like it, all this little pieces of my experience so far. The talk we had on the bus, the drinks we had in the park in the evening, the nice and open people I’ve met. The site- it is rough and intense, gives a strong provocative atmosphere, something to work with. It’s not just a neutral space, it has history. It both asks questions and wants answers. I am collecting ideas, recordings that I might use tomorrow. The dialog has begun. It’s great that I had two days to develop a relationship with the place. Two days is not much, but it’s a beginning.


Check our program here and be on time for the opening tomorrow!

Backpullver @Sofia Underground 2015


On 25th of April at The Energy Source Center of the National Palace of Culture (under Lumiere Cinema) starting at 23:30, as a part of Sofia Underground 2015 – Machines, the sound will be held by Backpullver. 

Engineer Tzvetomir Krumov and Emil Hristov (together a.k.a. ZDimension until 2003) are Backpullver. During the years they had some rare and memorable festival appearances – Ambient Fest, Underground:United, Djebel Basma Service, Орг.Орг fest and a few small concerts at the Art Hostel, Sfumato Theatre, The Red House. Latest show in Bulgaria was at Krasno Selo cultural institute, which got fully recorded:

In 2010 the duo was joined by German Germanov (aka The Saint Inspector, Oppidian) who brought new horizons and verticals in the x and y axis.

They play with home made machines and controllers. Just for fun, without being pretentious, no posing and no remorse. They leave the seriousness to the specialists, because they are none. Their last gig was in 2014 in OCCI, Amsterdam:

fB: http://www.facebook.com/thebackpullver

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/backpullver-1



about this blog

Here we publish interviews and interesting facts.

You can find the events we’re organizing here: https://www.facebook.com/exaf.org/events and here: http://exaf.org/en/upcoming