In the frames of Close Encounters programme the participants had the task to analyse and disscuss number of short texts that problematise the place of contemporary art and its means of production and interpretation in the present moment.
The sylabus included some key texts by Ekaterina Gegot, Hito Steyrl, Hans Belting.
Ekaterina Degot, "What is Art...", published in 2012 in the online platform openspace.ru (2008–2013).
The text answers the many questions asked by the readers of the publication "Open Space" about what art is. We have returned to this publication because of its relevance here and now, especially in the context of the Young Artists' Education Program "Close Encounters.Visual Dialogues", initiated by ICA-Sofia and supported by the Sofia Culture Program. When art is increasingly rarely spoken in its own context, we have to constantly update the notion of contemporary art. It is necessary, not because the manifestations of modern art are not recognizable, but because many other events in the world of politics, marketing and industrial brands are beginning to assimilate forms, strategies and tactics of contemporary art. It is also due to the amazingly long nonintegration of the Bulgarian art scene into the global processes. Success is still achieved "there", history, including art, but is increasingly politicized "here".
Hito Steyerl, "In Defense of the Poor Image", published in e-flux Journal, #10, 2009.
In the eassay Hito Steyerl draws the complex map of image circulation in todays online digital online world. In this map every property of an image has not only phisical, visual and aesthetic dimensions, but also political ones. Properties like resolution, quality, speed, origin carry certain certain ideological weight and political potential. Those are fundamental categories of the visual image we trie to grasp in disscussion in the frames of our course programme.
Hito Steyerl, "In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective", published in e-flux journal, #24, 2011.
A brief history of the horizon, the downfall of linear perspective, the politics of the vertical horizon of satelite views rising as a new dominating visual mode. The shift from linear to vertical perspective draws or redraws the map of the world.
Hans Belting, "Image, Medium, Body: A New Approach to Iconology", published in Critical Inquiry, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2005.
In this short easay Hans Belting proposes a new model of thinking of the image beyond the History of Art, in the much broader lands of European Anthropology.