When politics of the day is very weak, we lose our confidence in future, the French philosopher Alain Badiou says. At such moments art becomes very important as a means to trust the future, even if we cannot see it. Art creates fragments of space-time. A new world cannot be made from this, but a new way of waiting for the future.
It is precisely this idea that Water Tower Art Fest has been articulating and putting in motion in the last seven years. Artists throughout the world are invited to create contemporary art events in different points of Sofia and its outskirts. They work in abandoned or defunct buildings that are carries of political and social memories. Useless objects and outmoded spaces belonging to previous generations are turned into a resistance to the consumerist way of life where things are strictly valued on the basis of use and efficiency.
Thus the Water Tower Art Fest restores the lost link between history and postmodern nostalgia. Abandoned buildings become fragments of space-time. They have their own logic and laws and thus they make us feel differently.
The festival is named after the Water Tower in Sofia – a 27-meters tall building that provided the pressure necessary to supply water for the capital city. The round balcony on the top offers views of all parts of Sofia and Vitosha mountain. Each Sunday local residents climbed to the top of the spiral staircase of the tower in order to enjoy the cityscapes. The tower today is abandoned, overgrown with ivy and vine to such an extent that one can easily bypass it. Another building related to the festival, the Royal Train Station Kazichene, was important to our connection with other European countries and Asia. It was a beautiful building in its best days but now has turned into ruin. According to Walter Benjamin such ‘outmoded’ edifices preserve the energies of the past. For this reason these places often become crime-scenes; but the same energies also can suddenly be transformed into intellectual and revolutionary powers.
This year, more than 100 artists all over the world will try to awake these energies and create fragments of space-time where we can feel the world and ourselves in a different way. Because art today does not strive to represent any philosophical truth or freedom; it creates spaces where truth and freedom can take place.
© 2022 Water Tower Art Manifest