Festivals and platforms with intermedia overlaps

The TransArt CommunicaTION is one of the oldest “post- revolutionary” festivals of the experiment and media art. During thirty years of its acting it performed a vast service for various marginal expressions of the art. In spite of this the festival was shaped by succession of time into one of the largest festivals of its kind in international context. Since 1987 the TransArt CommunicaTION took place in Nové Zámky and other towns (also states) and it continues on. Above all, the TC has been a space for performance art but it did not defend itself to any form of art even to the art of new media. Miya Masaoka, Benoît Maubrey, Bob Ostertag or female organizer of festival Ilona Németh presented interactive installations on the festival. Today this already 30 year tradition ranks it among long-time festivals as e.g. Ars Electronica Linz or Transmediale Berlin. The festival guested over 500 artists from all over the world and it acted in more places: Nové Zámky, Budapešť, Galanta, Bratislava, Karlovy Vary, Monor, Komárno, Praha, Brno, Košice.

The “Erte studio”, the intermedia platform of literary men, performers, visual artists and of a biochemists arose on the background of forbidden literary association “Iródia” in Nové Zámky in 1987.  József R. Juhász, Ottó Meszáros, Ilona Németh and Attila Simon were shaped like independent association with the aim to support marginal expressions of art which have been suppressed on the official scene. They defined themselves as an experimental artistic and literary studio with interest in artistic expressions pushed out onto the periphery of cultural life, in visual art activities independent from official sphere and with the intention of searching new ways of art. They came out from minority Hungarian environment, from the birthplace of relevant artist Lajos Kassák where the artistic culture does not belong among active elements of life. The studio arose in time of increased opposition activity of society and visual artists to which they joined by support of alternative expressions of the art by means of lectures and presentations. This theme is more dealt with by the thesis of Katarína Kliská: online – https://is.muni.cz/th/b06rq/transart.pdf

From countless events, which are already a closed chapter, redefined chapter respectively in history of Slovak culture the cult Demobit deserves a mention which is functioning among years 1995 – 2001. Demo scene is independent community of coders, programmers and graphic artists which arose yet in the eighties. Today especially the connection of aesthetics and programming techniques is the meaning of demo scene of which result are demos. In this context the notion of “demo” means an artistic video clip of which purpose is to present technical and artistic abilities of its creators and to create an audio visual experience. The demos compete in various categories on demo parties organized all over the world, however, the most of them are in Europe.  One of them is the Slovak demo party Demobit Resonation 2018 – continuation of successful “resuscitation” after 15 years. Festival of computer art lasts three days and it is filled-up by competitions, lectures, live performances and also the demo show does not miss: presentation of that best what demo scene brought in the last.

In the half of the nineties significant experimental festivals Bee Camp and Sound Off also took place. Michal Murin, pioneer of the art of new media and today head of atelier Digital Media in Banská Bystrica was one of their initiators. Together with Juraj Ďuriš from experimental studio of Slovak Radio they made good use of their contacts with American scene of Sound Art and Experiment they organized two years of festival Bee Camp (1995, 1996) which integrated into itself several similar parallel activities in various places what we can compare to project Multiplace younger by a couple of years later. The festival has been an intermedia one and by its way it anticipated today´s multigenre and new media festivals and workshops such e.g.  TransArt CommunicaTION, Konvergencie  (Convergences) (they began in 1990), FIT – Festival of Intermedia Creativity (1991) and the like. Festival of “contemporary progressive music in intermedia overlaps“ Sound Off (1995 – 2001), which was initiated by Michal Murin and Jozef Cseres, and it took place in Bratislava, Šamorín, Nové Zámky and Nitra. The first two thematic years explored unconventional approaches in music also in visual art the following two years turned the attention to recontextualization work with historic musical tools (exhibition “Piano Hotel”). Their society for unconventional music (SNEH) has been supported also by participation of Valér Mika on the festival Ars Electronica in Linz in section of computer music in 1994. Further we can mention also successes of Slovak composers Ďuriš, Machajdík, Piaček on competitive festival of computer music in Italian Varése.

Next generation of theoreticians and artists initiated the festival Multiplace. It came into existence in one of waves of enthusiasm and grants connected with entry of Slovakia into EU structures in 2002. The Buryzone association stood by pioneering deed. The aim of festival – network “Multiplace” has been to create background for support of media creation, to support the creation in open and collaborative environment ant to strengthen critical considering on life in culture influenced by technologies. The festival got used to take place in the spring it lasted one to two weeks and it offered about a hundred of concerts, performances, workshops, exhibitions, lectures, projections, discussions and further actions. During its duration over 150 organizations were engaged in equal number of places all over the world. Just the heterogeneity of professional backgrounds of performers and organizers has been a peculiar feature for the context of so-called new media. From single-use action it became a long-time-festival into which further organizers, locations, projects, artists were engaged. In 2006 in time of the biggest boom 30 organizers in 17 locations in 11 towns with over 100 actions were engaged in it which reached from running video art to the travellers in buses between Prague and Bratislava, through performance from sounds of rise cooking with stewed vegetable; recruitment of pedestrians for expedition to Mars up to theatre thematicizing a private life in flat of its temporal hosts. Since 2015 it strikes personal and technical problems therefore the activity was transformed mainly into providing of platform of webhosting to experimental projects at the moment. Since 2008 the Sanchez server hosts over 80 sites of cultural projects all over world. Festival – platform also experimented with a form of open organization. There are moments when the openness will be loosened-up in a democratic community too so the future will show what direction the project will take further.

The Košice European Capital of Culture 2013 has been also one of pulses of origin of Biela noc (White night) festival. In 2015 the festival was enlarged also into Bratislava. International artistic project gives itself an ambition to approach to general public the contemporary forms of art on untraditional spaces in unusual time. For the most part it is done by form of public art multimedia installations.

Sensorium is young festival of experimental art and technologies which is functioning since 2016. The Sensorium festival is an event of workshops, lectures and performances on breakthrough of the art, design and performance with technologies. It tries to present to public the themes of interactive installations, graphics, data visualizations, virtual reality also of generative design and architecture. Internationally regarded artists and designers will meet in Bratislava in order to present their projects, processes and ideas. Since its origin it cooperates with cofounder of festival Resonate – Eduard Prats Molner which is also regular co-curator of programme.

Already since 2000 the NEXT music festival has not let Bratislava to sleep for sake of “radical melodies, elemental improvisations, hackneyed sounds, original music techniques and concepts, acoustic tools also innovative electronics, multimedia projects.” The NEXT festival presents and supports the topical creation of artists from all over the world playing live and inspirative contemporary music without genre restrictions. Its name symbolizes the connection of expressions “NEW & EXPERIMENTAL” what indicates the dramaturgical directing of festival. The NEXT tries to offer every year a selection of the most interesting thing what of the most interesting thing what it happens on the world scene whether already it is electronic and innovative serious music, improvised music, avant-garde jazz, noise, ambient, experimental rock but also conceptual projects, multimedia and interactive performances and further forms.

The Slovak scene of experimental festivals on borderland of genres is relatively rich further we mention at least several genres with important mission, time and volume scope or with original content and point of view. This sphere is understandably yet more dynamic than functioning of physical regular spaces for culture and art.

In 2013 the festival BRaK – Bratislavský knižný festival (Bratislava book festival) arose. It promises a “multisensory experience from book” yearly. During several days exceptional personalities of domestic and international literary scene, of book illustration and design will meet, accompanying author´s meetings, exhibitions, concerts, creative workshops and more than three tens of predominantly artistic publishing houses take place. In the other way the SELF festival oversteps borders of book presentations. This event takes place regularly yearly in other form whether there are lectures, discussion or excursion. The SELF is about overlaps of graphic representation in culture, society. It was created and for the first time implemented by woman disegners Ľubica Segečová, Eva Kašáková and by female theoretician Mária Rišková in year 2012. How they indicate their motivation was to create the biennial event covering-up the spheres of own interest in graphic design. It is a “tool for confrontation of domestic (Slovak also Czech) scene with topical themes it wants to support and to map engaged approach in the field of graphic design and visual communication”.

Experimental communities are associated in experimental spaces but also in cyberspaces. Kyberia.sk formed and it forms the authentic Slovak environment like “archipelago of virtual communities”. The Kyberia.sk server has been founded by Daniel D. Hromada student in 2001 in the period of prehistory of social networks of Facebook type. It obtained also third place in category  of Digital Communities on prestigious festival Ars Electronica 2013 in Linz after one award from the main awards in competition SME for the best web project of year 2007. The Kyberia has been from times immemorial perceived as a refuge of minorities, a relevant space where it is possible to discus about anything and to form authentic social projects. Gradually the largest Slovak independent social web arose from original simple discussion forum which sets a “protection of diversity in cyberspace” like its key aim. From beginning it concerned static page of which fundamental themes should be: God, drugs, transhumanistic philosophy, science and high technologies. Later the editing system was added and the page became more dynamic. Later the editing system was added and the page became more dynamic. The article reactions, writings of diaries (in cooperation with zion.sk) began to be added; later first discussion fora. The contemporary structure of database comes out from very specific model which does not make difference among category, forum, forum contribution, diary, user, friendly commentary. It considers all these data clusters for data nodes. Because it contains so much authentic content from yokes, receipts up to programming the artificial intelligences it is not possible to characterize them otherwise like a “world in small”. On the Kybernia also a system of evaluation of individual contributions (predecessor of “likes” on the Facebook) is functioning. The system of evaluation of nodes quality so-called “K” system (the charts of most awarded nodes created in 24 hours), which have been called “karma” in first beginnings of the system. The same “K”s understood like Credits also bear principles of virtual economy in itself.

The MONOSKOP web page (www.monoskop.org) founded in 2004 is an initiative of artist, theoretician and organizer Dušan Barok. Its intention is make visible the international also historical parallels towards activity of experimental, media artists and initiatives in Slovakia and to legitimize it in broader cultural context. It is a participative platform inspired by model of Wikipédia from beginning, with laxer editor´s rules and without clearly defined borders with priority shot on the media art. Several initiatives did exist for historicization of media art and new media but in their historic connections the Central and East Europe were out of shot in a way of programme. In the present day the Monoskop contains easily also heavily available publications on history of experimental film, video art, electroacustic music, computer art, cybernetics and so on but only few of them dedicate themselves to overlaps and to that how the artists cooperated across formats and also across state borders. It contains publications on national and western histories of individual areas but there are only exceptions among them which dedicate themselves to institutional, local, regional and international history. To map such overlaps and particular histories are not a work for group of people but for academicians of the whole region. The subsequent conceptualization of media culture requires to perceive these tendencies which are its vanguard. New media in international context experienced a boom particularly in the nineties. Yet ten years ago the marginal field overlooked by historians, journalists and publicly a little visible is getting to centre of discussions about culture and policy. The media culture reaches from internet art through audiovisual performance, interactive installations and software art, through movement of free software, digital human-legal activism and social media up to contemporary pirate parties. Today the Monoskop is formed like a source and research platform for analysis and reflexion of just this development. That is we got from original self-historicization we got to broader questions of media time which have deep historical connections. The research is open and more and more students began to engage into it in the last years.

The conclusion is then open – to continue in research of contemporary also recently past projects, initiatives and places and personalities which created them and they are created by various ways. For example to begin to create and to write chapters of cultural heritage yet today!