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.