what now / now what

Sofia Underground International Performance Art Festival

26-29 April 2018

Sofia Underground is an artist-run/independent, participatory event dedicated to serve as a platform for flexible and experimental showcasing of performance art and close contemporary art forms. Presenting works across a dynamic range of forms: live performances, presentations, lectures, screenings, exhibitions, public interventions and theme parties among other events Sofia Underground acts like a critical bridge between the local and the international art scenes, between emerging and established art practitioners, activists and enthusiasts.

In 2017 Sofia Underground has closed a chapter in its history. Over 65 participants from more than 30 countries marked the 20th anniversary of the event. Spread over 8 locations, and 8 days the longest and most intense edition of the oldest festival for contemporary and performance art in Bulgaria asked and answered a lot of questions related to time, space and durability in the context of 100 years history of avant-garde art.


In 2018 Sofia Underground returns with a more concentrated program, conceptualized as a reflection over the feedback of the completed chapter. Naturally, a new chapter is to be opened and it starts with the question:
These two simple words are questioning the present state of our existence as humans, society, civilization. Here we open the debate that could set the frame for further work and thought:
What is now? What is contemporary in present-continuous tense? What is contemporary art, its audience and its role now and here?
What happens now, when we are constantly viewing, posting, sharing, co-existing, co-producing, co-creating and reaching a state of living that eludes the very principles of existance?
What now, when we can’t just shut technology off?
Now what? How can we be relevant with the ever changing now?
In a world that’s increasingly non-fixable, answers, solutions, alternatives can always be given, but what are those applicable to now?


The program of the festival will start with an international exhibition of documentation of performance artworks at the Sofia Arsenal Museum for Contemporary Art. This selection is based on the open call for WNNW issue of the Sofia Underground. The exhibition features works by more than 30 artists, presentations, special performances by guest artists, guided tour and a party. The video documentation of the performances happening on the territory of the museum will be donated to the National Art Gallery archive in line with our longstanding partnership with the institution.

The live part of the Sofia Underground 2018 WNNW is on the 29th of April in the acclaimed electro-control centre underneath the National Palace of Culture with a variety of interactive and collaborative performances.

Symbolically and conceptually as an answer to these questions Sofia Underground continues its partnership with a fellow Visibility in Art Festival from Izmir, Turkey. The partnership is supported by the Civil Society Exchange program, initiated by MitOst e.V. and Stiftung Mercator and will include mutual content and artist exchange, workshops and residencies.

Sofia Underground Festival is organized by the team of eXAF.org and Studio Dauhaus in close collaboration with friends and supporters.



what now