"Interactive art is a form of art that involves the spectator in a way that allows the art to achieve its purpose."
“Co-Interaction” is an Art group dedicated to the implementation of Hi-tech assisted artistic projects.
Members: Svetoslav Kosev, Atanas Markov, Simeon Jelev
INTERACTIVE GENERATIVE FORMATIONS
Svetoslav Kosev, Atanas Markov
The aim of the Interactive Generative Formations Project is to establish a dialog between the viewer and the artwork. It provides a virtual scene where the viewer appears on a display as a silhouette shaped by a web of multiple lines and is able to manipulate the artwork. The lines are connected through an algorithm which makes the artwork not only interactive, but also generative (hence the name of the project). The virtual space contains a web of points, which have definite physical attributes and are scattered using a pseudo random principle. The points are also connected between themselves by the same algorithm as the viewer's silhouette, producing a definite graphic effect. There are small points, which have gravity and fall down, but they can also interact when colliding with the viewer's silhouette or with themselves. And there are bigger, colored "balls", which also participate in the virtual scene with their own physical properties. The aim of these balls is to inspire the viewer into action and to involve him/her in the virtual space by introducing a game element.
Svetoslav Kosev, Simeon Zhelev
The exhibition comprises a series of items based on literature works, the majority of which were inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, especially its part INFERNO.
The preliminary idea originated when I decided to give a 100 x 70 cm graphic print as a present to artist Petar Lazarov whom I consider a close friend of mine. Then he told me he did not have space to keep a work of this size and suggested that we make a book with specific fold and cut. Subsequently I decided to further develop this idea and combine two means of expression which appear to be quite contrary to each other at first sight. One of them is based on the classical printing technique “lithography” and the other is based on modern three-dimensional graphics. My predilection for lithography derives from the degree I have earned in Graphic Arts. Three-dimensional graphics is what I have been devoted to ever since I graduated from university. I have been interested in it since its dawn. Thus the idea emerged to intertwine several means of expression into one project, unified by literature.
As the basis for the artworks serve objects and images modeled through three-dimensional graphics software. On the other hand, they are interpreted differently in various types of artwork such as:
The graphic prints incorporate verses from the literature works which they illustrate.
The exhibition displays also the calligraphy examples which are part of the lithographic prints along with ones which were not used in the compositions.
The handmade books created by Simeon Zhelev, which include lithographic prints cut in a particular manner, offer yet another opportunity to expose. The boxes created especially for each work further enrich the idea. Therefore, they are the conclusive final touch to the preliminary concept of this book-based project. It presents other works related to the topic of this project.
Since the models included in the two-dimensional graphic prints are indeed three-dimensional modeled objects, this allows treating them in a merely digital way. For this reason the dragon from Canto 34 is represented in a virtual scene facilitating the exertion of different impact.
In this way, one and the same work is displayed in several ways completely different from one another. This allows the viewer to gain various impressions of the same object in different visual forms.
INTERACTION WITH A TECHNOLOGICAL ORGANISM
Svetoslav Kosev, Atanas Markov
This art installation is a natural corollary to two former interactive projects, namely “INTERACTIVE GENERATIVE FORMATIONS” and “VIRTUAL ARENA”
The essential difference between the new project and the previous ones is that in the former action takes place on a two-dimensional plane, on which images are being projected. The objects’ aesthetics is pre-defined and the movement of both viewers and participants in the installation is detected by a sensor. Thus, the viewers alter the appearance of the dynamic images on the go and become active part in their construction and perception.
With the project “INTERACTION WITH A TECHNOLOGICAL ORGANISM”, we leave the two-dimensional plane and venture into three-dimensional space. The dimensions of the installation “event box” are 500х500х350 см. While discussing the project we came up with the idea to imitate a living organism that is able to react to “the threat” of approaching viewers. This idea is modeled over a behavioral reaction of a group of plants depicted in the movie “Avatar”. In the movie the protagonist touches a plant which triggers an instant reaction by all other members of the group of plants which withdraw within their roots. To design an installation of the desired scale within the viewers’ step-in zone however is quite risky. That is why we decided to raise the whole installation and the objects above viewers’ heads, which, of course, is much more complicated as an engineering solution and necessitates the involvement of an expert in the respective field. The other problem that we had to solve concerned the nature of the object that was supposed to react to the participants’ presence and what type of reaction to model. It was at this point that I was reminded of a game children play on the beach. It involved throwing of a small spherical ball that expands in flight but contracts upon impact and squeeze. Later on it turned out that this toy was known in the scientific circles as the “Hoberman sphere”. We made a couple of experiments with “the ball” and it turned out that it can be made to expand and contract to pre-defined parameters with the aid of servo mechanisms. Then, on the basis of all the initially considered elements, the whole construction for the installation was designed. Naturally there were some problems within the process of construction. These were primarily related to the electronic circuits and Atanas had to solve them on the spot, which he masterfully did.
All in all, our cooperation in which I contributed with the conceptual and the visual part, Atanas was entirely engaged with the technical part, and engineer Anton Krustev contributed with the construction design, lead to the completion of the project and the new installation.
The inaugural presentation of the project will be held on the 15th of March in “Raphael Michailov” Exhibition Center, Veliko Tarnovo.
INTERACTION WITH IMAGINARY REALITY
Svetoslav Kosev, Atanas Markov
We, Svetoslav Kosev and Atanas Markov, are two members of Art Group CoInteraction who participate in the event named Interaction with Imaginary Reality. We had planned this to happen a year earlier, but it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What we present here are two of our interactive installations created in the last few years. The first one is called Interactive Generative Formations, it was designed in 2014 and was then first shown at VIVACOM Art Hall in Sofia, under the auspices of the exhibition Teachers and Students organized by our colleagues from Sofia University. It was henceforth presented several times in Bulgaria, as well as in the Serbian city of Nis, and in Murcia, Spain. What is characteristic for this installation is that the display is observed on the two-dimensional surface of a screen. It reflects the silhouettes of the volunteering people who play with the virtual objects we have provided and by means of their actions the volunteers become part of the work.
The next installation we present here is called Interaction with a Technological Organism, and it was devised on the basis of the installation mentioned earlier. However, what we aim to achieve in it is to shift the action away from the two-dimensional space and bring it down on the real ground. We decided to extend it on a surface of 500x500x350 cm, and make the installation imitate the behavior of a living organism. A group of helicoradian plants serve as an impellent – an idea we have borrowed from the movie Avatar where the protagonist touches the plant and it provokes an instant reaction from the whole group of the same species to vanish shrinking at their base. On the other hand, it is risky to make an installation of the scale we desired covering the observers' footstep area. Therefore, we decided to raise the moving objects above the heads of visitors, which is certainly more complicated from the engineering perspective. And thus, it became inevitable for an expert in that field such as Engineer Anton Krastev to join our team. We faced another problem asking ourselves "What object shall react to the presence of the observer and how exactly will all this take place?" Then I thought of a toy I had seen on the beach. It was a telescopic ball stretching up when you throw it and shrinking inwards when you catch it. As it later turned out, this toy is known in scientific circles as the "Hoberman Sphere", named after its inventor. After several experiments with it, it turned out that it could be opened and closed by means of servo motors. Having already encountered various vicissitudes in our work, we came to its end by adding musical background composed by Georgi Mlyachkov. Currently our works of Augmented Reality are accompanied by his short sound composition; it is the latest component which significantly expands the originally intended scope of the exhibition Interaction with Imaginary Reality. A while ago I mentioned that we overcame numerous challenges, particularly when Nasko had to solve problems mostly in relation to the electronics, but eventually we managed to come to an end.
In order to amplify what we have previously shown, we decided to add another technological component to the exhibition Interaction with Imaginary Reality. That technology is known as Augmented Reality or AR. We came up with this idea rather at the spur of the moment, but it is a perfectly logical continuation to the overall concept of our viewpoints. Adding such elements to the composition is another way to enhance the possibilities for perceiving a graphic image, which anyhow would be attributed independent aesthetic presence in the exhibition area. This technology opens up broad opportunities for the visual arts, provides new directions in their development, and it can change the manifestation of classical art forms.
Within the project framework Svetoslav Kosev presents 10 of his graphic works, which are accompanied by Augmented Reality implemented by Atanas Markov.
Although they appeared spontaneously as a component of the exhibition Interaction with Imaginary Reality they have proved to be one of the main attractions at its showing in Sofia.
Endeavoring to turn this idea into reality, we have gone a long way charting our chosen path. A significant role for achieving this can be attributed to several projects we accomplished in the period 2019-2022. One of them took place in Sofia with a duration from the 01st to the 08th of June, 2021 under the name “Interaction with Imaginary Reality”. It displayed the most significant projects by Svetoslav Kosev and Atanas Markov, the founders of Art Group “Co-Interaction”. These include the interactive installations “Interactive Generative Formations”, “Interaction with a Technological Organism”, as well as a series of 10 graphic works involving Augmented Reality, which were later supplemented with 2 other works. As a matter of fact, these projects are the grounds for the next concept, which materialized in the project “Divine Comedy”, an idea we came upon spontaneously during a conversation. The formal reason for this was the 700th anniversary marking the death of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, which was commemorated with various cultural events not only in his homeland but also worldwide. The collaborative work between Svetoslav Kosev and Simeon Zhelev shared for the first edition of the project “The Incarnations of the Book” in 2019, when some of the graphic works based on the “Divine Comedy” were created, contributes to the emergence of the “Divine Comedy” project.
The “Divine Comedy, an exhibition of Augmented Reality graphic art, was opened at the Largo Art Gallery on the 15th December, 2021. The event was realized under the auspices of Mr. Antonio Tarquinio, the Honorary Consul of Italy in Varna.
What is considered special about this project is that we leave the domain of the two-dimensional and pass into the three-dimensional space. In practice, each of the works has two states of being - real, the way the viewers perceive it hanging on the gallery walls, and virtual - which can be seen through a special application for a smartphone or a tablet. This was made possible due to the collaborative effort of Svetoslav Kosev with Atanas Markov and Simeon Zhelev. A few years ago, the three founded Art Group “Co-Interaction”, whose activities are aimed at creating projects that involve the use of high-tech tools. Svetoslav Kosev is the brains of the artistic, conceptual and visual part of the projects, while the technical and technological part is taken over by Atanas Markov, who is also the author of the Augmented Reality application used to interactively visualize the projects. The third member of the group, Simeon Zhelev, is committed to calligraphy, and his work can be seen in the cycle “Divine Comedy”.
Regarding the project “Divine Comedy”, Svetoslav Kosev shares: "These are works with Augmented Reality (AR). It is another way to attach supplementary compositional elements to the perception model of an image of graphic arts, which in any case has its independent aesthetic presence in the exhibition area. This technological tool opens up possibilities for the visual arts towards a new direction in their development, and I believe that Augmented Reality can change the look of classical art forms. I decided to further develop this idea and combine two means of expression which seem to be complete opposites. One of them is based on the classical graphic technique “lithography”, and the other one relies on modern three-dimensional graphics. My predilection for lithography is based on my education in graphics. 3D graphics is something I've been doing since I graduated from university. It has been intriguing to me since its emergence. Thence came the idea of interweaving several means of expression into one joint project, whose common denominator is literature. Objects and characters modeled by means of a three-dimensional graphics software serve as the fundament of the artworks. The graphic prints are interlinked with verses from the literary works which they illustrate. Taking into consideration the fact that the models incorporated in the two-dimensional graphic prints are actually three-dimensional objects which I have modelled, this allows them to be treated with an entirely electronic approach. In this way, one and the same work is presented in several radically different ways. This allows the observer to get a different impression of the same object in a different visual form.”
Another integral part of this project consists of the handmade books by Simeon Zhelev. Each of the works from the series created by Svetoslav Kosev in relation to the “Divine Comedy” project is accompanied by a book that includes a lithographic print which is cut and is folded in a specific way. Each book is individually made based on the themes illustrating parts of the literary work.
The Augmented Reality, in particular, is accompanied by music which Georgi Mlyachkov created especially for the project. It differs in the separate parts of “Divine Comedy”, respectively in the parts “Heaven”, “Purgatory” and “Hell”. He is also the author of the musical background to the project “Interaction with a Technological Organism”, and 12 works with Augmented Reality originated as part of this last-mentioned project.
The augmented reality in the graphics can be seen by anyone who downloaded the application to their phone HERE.