Computer Space Forum

Computer Space forum is one of the oldest computer art festivals, organized by the Student Computer Art Society (SCAS) in Sofia every year during the last 18 years.

An international non-commercial event and platform joining young artists, students and producers of computer graphics, computer animation, off-line multimedia, electronic music and web design. Computer Space includes contest and festival part and all the events are free and open to the public especially encouraging the participation of students and young artists. Every year more than 200 projects in the sphere of computer arts have been presented by their authors and discussed. The creative idea, the transformation of the idea to project, the combination of technology and art in the implementation, the society impact of computers have been always a main focus of the symposia in the frame of Computer Space.

Starting as an electronic music festival in 1989 Computer Space included graphics and animation sections next few years. Web design has been one of the fast growing sections last 7 years.

During the 1980s Bulgaria specialized in producing microcomputers in the former communist block countries and the Soviet Union specialized in producing big machines and supercomputers. The Eastern block countries had the so called Economic Inter-support Council and in the frame of that Council each country has been developing some economic area. At that time it was not so clear the microcomputers will be the future and some experts believe that the microcomputers are mainly for games and home usage. It happened that in 1981 the first microcomputer in Eastern Europe called Imko II then (in 1982) called Pravetz 82 (with 8 bit processor) has been released in Bulgaria. This was Apple II compatible microcomputer and it came to life just after Apple II.

This situation placed Bulgaria in the leadership role in microcomputers production not only in Eastern Europe but also in the Middle East and even in the Central Europe. A huge plants have been built exporting thousands of Pravetz 82 and later Pravetz 16 (with 8086/88 processor) to all Eastern block countries and to Arabic countries. The development of computer industry in that time strongly influenced the development of software and also the development of computer arts. In the beginning of 80's the first analogue synthesiser (produced in Paris and occupying almost one big hall) has been installed in the Bulgarian National Radio and thus giving a strong tool to the electronic music composers from the Balkan region. The own production of EGA and VGA displays in the middle and late 80s pushed the computer graphics and visualization to a new level.

Being a barometer of electronic and computer arts in Sough-Eastern Europe Computer Space forum often offers the artists possibility to debate such fundamental issues as relations between computer arts and other contemporary arts, place of the artists in the creative process, styles in digital arts, technology and society issues etc. Some of the symposium topics like 'The Violence of Information', 'Virtual Identity', 'Computer arts or computers in the arts', 'Art or a design' opened a lot of following discussions in many artistic forums and blogs.

One of the often open questions during the many discussions is the definition of art in the computer generated or manipulated products. For example, some computer graphics like 3D architectural or car images could demonstrate brilliant design technologies and could 'touch' the users emotionally. Is this an art? Or we may see very nice Photoshop made drawings of landscapes or processed photographs. And, another often posed question, the value of such creations, especially in comparison to the value of oil paintings that exist in just one unique copy. These and many similar questions allow the artists to debate the future of the arts and interaction between the arts.

Computer arts have a lot of forms and appearance and this evolution is always been in a focus of CS seminars. Computer graphics, computer animation, multimedia (CD/ DVD based games, encyclopaedia, fairy-tale stories, galleries, training modules etc.), web-art, net-art, electronic/computer music, VRs, interactive art installations and many forms are regarded as computer arts. But, it is always a big discussion when the synthesis of technology and creative ideas becomes an art. And, how to distinguish the art from the brilliant design or from the perfect modelling? Shall we consider the impact and raised emotions as a prove of the artistic elements of some project? And, if and how the entertainment projects (for example, games) could be considered as an art ?

In the CS data-base with participating projects, during the years, a lot of well-known studios and artists could be noticed - Braam Jordaan (South Africa), Academy for Media and Art (Cologne),ZKM (Karlsruhe), IRCAM (Paris), Platige Studio (Poland), Studio Aka (UK), Miralab (Switzerland), Institute for Electroacoustic of Vienna University and many others. Most of them are pioneers of some new methods and technologies in computer arts and modern media.

Famous quotes containing the words forum, computer and/or space:

    What is called eloquence in the forum is commonly found to be rhetoric in the study. The orator yields to the inspiration of a transient occasion, and speaks to the mob before him, to those who can hear him; but the writer, whose more equable life is his occasion, and who would be distracted by the event and the crowd which inspire the orator, speaks to the intellect and heart of mankind, to all in any age who can understand him.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    What, then, is the basic difference between today’s computer and an intelligent being? It is that the computer can be made to see but not to perceive. What matters here is not that the computer is without consciousness but that thus far it is incapable of the spontaneous grasp of pattern—a capacity essential to perception and intelligence.
    Rudolf Arnheim (b. 1904)

    A set of ideas, a point of view, a frame of reference is in space only an intersection, the state of affairs at some given moment in the consciousness of one man or many men, but in time it has evolving form, virtually organic extension. In time ideas can be thought of as sprouting, growing, maturing, bringing forth seed and dying like plants.
    John Dos Passos (1896–1970)