Fire sculpture, air dance and video projections were the culminations of “School of Spectacles ” in Plovdiv. 25 artists from Bulgaria and from abroad were gathered for one week by “Plovdiv 2019”, which gave them complete freedom in their artistic solutions for urban interventions in order to recreate the Adata Island –little known for some people and completely unknown for others, urban oasis, located in the heart of one of the most dynamically developing cities in Bulgaria. The island, along with the Maritsa River, is among the main focuses of the program of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture ever since the time of applying for the title. The revival of the place and drawing the attention of the citizens to the river valley will be priorities for the Foundation and for the next two years, where a series of artistic interventions will take place with the active participation of the Plovdiv citizens.
The inspiration from the island was also transferred to the visitors and the occasional passers-by who took part in the school’s final event in the city center. With “The Eye” of the Island, the artists displayed the diversity of flora and fauna hidden from city traffic under the river bridge. With acrobatic movements, the island spirit – a symbol of the river, dressed entirely in white, brought the harmony and ecological equilibrium of the river. The burning question, “What is Adata?” was asked after the Spirit of Adata led the procession of people, carrying them metaphorically into the depths of the habitat, the sound of the trees, the noise of passing vehicles. People’s responses were not late and everyone willing left their message to the place. As mystic, life, hidden treasure, place of contrasts, awakening and energy, was the island defined by the people, who did not hide in their messages that this is a place filled with wildlife that we must protect.
Alexis Johnson, director of the organization “Walk of the Plank”, which is the leader of “School of Performances” project, said that the priority in the one-week school is training. “Not much can be done in a week, but we’ve worked actively – everyone is in a different team, there is a team that creates a tangible object, there is a team for a fire logo, a sound team making a soundtrack, a video team that makes animation from the pictures, as well as a team engaged in the show” and added that Bulgarian artists are on a high level and they have plenty to show on the world stage with their bold decisions.
“School of Spectacle” is a project in which “Plovdiv 2019” Foundation is a partner with the European Capitals of Culture – Paphos 2017, Kaunas 2022 and the candidate from Ireland – Limerick. The school is being held since 2016, when its first host was Paphos, Cyprus, followed by Kaunas and Plovdiv. The project will end in Limerick, where it will again bring together artists from different parts of Europe to share their experience and knowledge.
More photos you can see HERE.