Art Association Kera

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Yordan Ganevski, Milen Krastev
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January 22, 2007
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Article

Cultural Activism in the Sea Capital of Bulgaria

KERA is a group of artists and cultural operators based in Varna - a major sea port on the Bulgarian Black Sea. They stand on this territory which is also their home town determined to question culture´s flow towards the country´s capital Sofia. With their activities they strengthen Varna´s role as a host of dynamic cultural events, both nationally and internationally.
In 2006 KERA presented the third edition of their international festival for contemporary art. Originally titled "Visual Games", in 2006 the festival was transformed into "Product Festival". It involves diverse actions such as visual art presentations, performances, screenings, debates, and publications.
Every edition gathers Bulgarian and international artists on a certain theme. Visual Games 2005 reflected on the theme "events, processes", on the turning point when something happening becomes an "event" and a chain of events becomes a "process". The festival invited the participating artists´ perception and interpretation of contemporary events and the broadness of this topic resulted in a variety of artistic input.
The theme for Product Festival 2006 was Divided Nations. It gathered artists´ insight into historical processes, which changed cultures, caused them to confront and be divided. The importance of historical division translates into the future, and the festival seeked to answer to what degree do cultures need to be divided in order to perceive a need to be together. Over 50 participating artists from Korea, Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, France, Bosnia, Italy and Switzerland presented their individual response to such questions.
Product Festival was presented in a number of venues, both conventional and unconventional. Along with the City Art Gallery, the local Cultural Centre and a private gallery space, KERA entered the abandoned building of the former Sea Casino. Normally hidden under piles of debris, the Casino welcomed festival audiences to exhibits and installations, where the building was often flirting with the artwork.
KERA´s activism in crative reinventing and animating of urban spaces fallen into oblivion by transition and privatisation processes extends beyong the Sea Casino. They have produced actions and pursue such in spaces like the former Roman Baths, abandoned swimming pools, and certainly the numberous industrial giants left behind by a shrinking sea port activity.
As part of their cultural debate efforts, KERA have put their finger on the fact that Bulgaria lacks a Museum of Contemporary Art. They organise discussion platforms to advocate and envision establishment of this indispensible part of every country´s cultural life, as well as to evaluate the performance of existing cultural institutions.
Association "KERA" take part in the platform Black/North SEAS as hosts of research visits, a SEAS DATE, and prospective host of a SEAS Event in 2008-2009.
Author: Yuliana Yankova

Bio

Association KERA is based in Varna. They produce an annual festival for contemporary art in Varna, whose third edition, Product, was held in 2006.
The team of the Association consists of Yordan Ganevski (Managing Director), Milen Krastev (Artistic Director), Efrosina Peneva (Art Director), Dora Doncheva (Public Relations), Petar Kostadinov (Co-ordinator) and Zdravko Totinov (Digital Technologies).
The Association has also a broad network of collaborators, among which national cultural operators, Bulgarian and international funding programmes, and private enterprises.

Works

Product Festival 2006

Established,
2006
International Festival of Contemporary Art

Visual Games 2005

Established,
2006
International Festival of Contemporary Art

Visual Games 2004

Established,
2005
International Festival of Contemporary Art

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Black/North SEAS

The SEAS Platform 2008-2010

(02 December 05 - 31 December 10)

Www

Product Festival

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Art Association Kera
Product Festival 1
Art Association Kera
Product Festival 2
Art Association Kera
Visual Games 3
Art Association Kera
Visual Games 4