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Governmental support for art, science and technology in Bulgaria

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Presentation by Petko Dourmana at Mini Summit on New Media Arts Policy&Practice organized by Asia-Europe Foundation. …

Presentation by Petko Dourmana at Mini Summit on New Media Arts Policy&Practice organized by Asia-Europe Foundation.
Singapore, 24th - 26th July 2008


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  • 1. Part 1: Background - Intercosmos Governmental support for art, science and technology in Bulgaria Petko Dourmana, InterSpace
  • 2. In 1964 the Bulgarian Communist Party in order to escape from real social, political and administrative reform, invented a policy line represented by the the so-called “Technical-Scientific Revolution”.
  • 3.
    • In the frame of Intercosmos Space Program the first Bulgarian satellite was launched in 1981 and two Bulgarians reached Space.
  • 4. The most visible result was the development of huge computer industry in communist Bulgaria.
  • 5. At its peak, Bulgaria supplied 40 percent of the computers in COMECON (the Eastern equivalent to the European Economic Community)‏ The electronics industry employed 300,000 workers and generated $ 13.3 billion a year. Since the democratic changes in 1989 and the subsequent chaotic political and economic conditions, the once flourishing Bulgarian computer industry was allowed to disintegrate almost completely.
  • 6. Some of the computers produced in Bulgaria
    • Pravetz 82 personal computer, 1982
    Pravetz 16 personal computer, 1987
  • 7. In preparation of the “Technical-Scientific Revolution” TNTM (Technical and Scientific Creativity for the Youth) was established as a department of DKMS (Union of the Communist Youth in Bulgaria). It had the goal not only to increase the technical skills of the youth but to provoke more interest in scientific experiments and mainly to nurture creativity by using technology. Most of the programmers, scientists, designers and even artists who were born in the 60s and 70s in Bulgaria had developed their interest in Technology, Science and Art trough this Communist Party structure – TNTM.
  • 8. In 1987 Petko Dourmana was awarded the first prize of the TNTM regional competition “Intercosmos” in the category “ideas and projects” with a project for modular space ship. 3D models of the project made in Blender
  • 9. Part 2: Current situation - InterSpace Governmental support for art, science and technology in Bulgaria
  • 10. InterSpace was founded in1998 as a non-profit organization that operates at the intersection between art, science and technology. InterSpace involves mostly young people - artists, curators, designers and engineers - with a common interest to work together on production of art projects. With time we managed to established good teamwork between artists and technical people (software developers and hardware specialists), who are interested in experiments and creative use of new technologies.
  • 11. Sofia - 15/24 September 2000, Manchester - 21/30 March 2002 Urban Cycles - Interactive multiple-screen video installation, a common platform for presentation of individual works within the urban environment. Realised in the National Palace of Culture, Sofia and on Library Walk, Manchester.
  • 12. Sofia, 2006 Mobile Studios - a mobile, autonomous production laboratory for young artists, musicians, performers and cultural programmers. Mobile Studios consisted of three corresponding units: Editorial-, Talk- and Live Studio.
  • 13. Sofia, 2007 At Home in Europe – a platform for production and distribution of artworks using digital media. The project activities included artists residencies, workshops, international call for short films, and the Big M touring programme of film screenings.
  • 14. During the ten years of existence and intensive work in Bulgaria InterSpace has never received structural support from a Bulgarian institution. In 2007 after a lobbying campaign initiated by InterSpace a municipal fund for culture was established in Sofia with a budget of about 0,5 Million Euro per year. So far all applications of InterSpace have been rejected and the best funded projects by the fund are TV series and a 10-volume anthology, both on nationalistic topics.
  • 15. On 06.07.08 at a round table about cultural policies and cultural heritage, initiated by Boiko Borisov - current mayor of Sofia and most likely next Prime Minister of Bulgaria internet wasn't mentioned even once. The former fireman and bodyguard stated his vision for the future development of Bulgaria lies in intensive agricultural production.

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