Bloop Festival 2013 is a Proactive Arts Festival that takes place all across the island of Ibiza. Completely free it’s a month long program of art and music based activities.
This year, BLOOP welcomes 20 artists hailing from Spain, the UK, Ukraine, Italy, France, Germany and the USA. They construct the aesthetic around a theme related closely to our daily lives. This year that theme is CONTROL and the BLOOP artists have begun to interpret and express this concept in their own languages and techniques across the month long exhibition, inviting us to think and reflect on how control affects us all. Particularly relevant in light of news of North America starting to gather data from social networks and communication services for submission to the State as well as NSA’s cosy little sidle up to GCHQ recently too.
This is proactive, not reactive art.
Now in full swing on the white isle we caught up with the organisers to find out a lot more about the concept and the ethos of the festival.
Tell us about BLOOP and the concept behind. How has this year’s festival been going.
BLOOP is the first proactive arts festival in the world where artists, artworks and spectators are all participants to complete the final artwork. We aim to induce proactivity with the spectators by the artworks and artists. Whether its taking a photo of a mural, dancing in one of our parties with the music, stopping for a moment while you’re walking down the streets to contemplate one of our installations. We would also like people to think and reflect on the themes related to society that the festival has each year, this year its CONTROL.
An arts festival in Ibiza was the paradox we were looking for. We organise exhibitions for many years and we are a bit tired of people who come to each opening of events that pretend to be cool and sensitive, where at the end they only wish to be a part of the market of the art system.
The standard that we have, I think is quite high but we don`t only want to communicate to those who love art but place all the visitors that come in a condition to think, that`s the concept of proactivity. Ibiza is magical, Ibiza is freedom and we love this place. For this reason, we thought of organising a festival in an island with the soul of a metropolis. Open 24hrs a day where every day you can meet people from around the world. A festival of art on an island that has been a victim of the stereotypes of the nightlife (many times it seems absurd even for me) and the most interesting and difficult thing for us is to involve everybody that comes to the festival and to give us positive feedback, and they are people who has never been to an art exposition in their who lives. People who step foot in a BLOOP event, stay and have fun. After all, our activities are free so people don’t necessarily feel that they have to watch their budgets, unlike most activities you find in Ibiza, so I think that the fact they stay means a lot.
How important is to leave a legacy once the festival is over
For us it isn’t important whether we leave a legacy. We hope that through our festival, people were able to think and reflect about control and how we are under control.
How did you decide on this year’s theme CONTROL?
It feels like, we, as a society choose to spend hundreds of euros to purchase a phone that has the potential to allow our crazy ex-partners to know everything about us, that write to us, where we are and what we`re thinking. I think this is terrible. Sometimes I`m with friends and every single one of us are writing sms, replying to emails, chatting on skypeso basically we`re all in the same place physically but everybody is somewhere else. The social networks are somewhat like an instrument for fun or some instrument of mass individualism, no? One of the installations in the festival, Pineapple Crocodile for example, is inspired by 1984 of George Orwelldivide for control.
We are all alone, frustrated and we wait for somebody to put like to feel appreciated and we do this by placing ourselves in a show window, we are conscious that we are displayed upon the eyes of anybody.
Snowden and Assange are two icons that the artists decided to portray to communicate what they think
What is the key message you hope to convey to someone visiting the festival?
All our events we do have one common ambitionto make the visitors to think. Specifically, this year, we would like to communicate to those who forget how important our liberty and especially our own privacy is and place everybody in a condition to defend this fundamental right that is too often violated.
How do you select the artists that are involved?
The majority of the artists who work with us are those who collaborate with us for a long time (our base is called Biokip) and a part of the programme each year are based on what we need to narrate the theme. Every artist has their path, each artist uses their very own languageand based on the theme we have, we search for the most representative artist who can narrate it.
What is the reaction from the locals and Ibiza residents to have an art gallery on their streets
The festival is free. We bring international artists, we have good manners and even though we have lots of things to improve I hope that the local Ibizan community has understood that we are bringing something important to the islandnot only for the lucrative cultural value and the permanent artworks but because the festival is able to attract attention of tolerant and receptive cultural tourism.
We always have children who live just around the corner coming over to visit us at the headquarters, local bars supporting our festival and families that live here having fun in our events. I think that we accentuate what Ibiza really is; tolerant, abundant in nature and magical.
Ibiza is certainly a special place which I’ve loved for many years but there’s a distinctly ugly commercial side to the island which is very off-putting. Is this a reaction to this abject commercialism? Do you see yourselves existing within that framework in any capacity?
This year Ibiza`s tourism foundation presented us in the International Tourism Fair and I think that they did this to show that non commercial and interesting things are beginning on the island as well. In our case we decided to hold a festival, that`s almost at the end of its 3rd edition, it`s self-produced and all the activities we do are free admission. Everything is for freeup till now no big sponsors. Wellit`s Ibiza…there are so many things we like and so many things we don`t likeand if I may mention one I think is extremely vulgar and absurdare the girls that walk around half naked to promote the parties at the clubs.
Are there plans to take BLOOP to other places than Ibiza ?
We`ve received various inquiries from different organisations around the world but first we need to focus on this 2013 editionthen we`ll see
BLOOP KIDS is an important part of the festival, how do they react to the freedom to be able to paint walls and buildings, something they’d normally be told off for!
BLOOP KIDS is one of the activities we follow with careful attention. Last year we built an interactive system with a wall projected from behind that the children could use modified Montana94 sprays with sensors to paint virtually the walls by pushing the cap. But this year we decided to go back and let kids paint real walls with real paint. PHLEGM, an important street artist was also involved, he painted a fish just for the workshop, which the children filled in with colours.
The kids were thrilled about painting on a large scale! But, quite surprisingly, they were rather indifferent towards the wall element. Maybe the common sense that it’s illegal to paint on walls is something that gets seeded later on or they simply don’t consider walls as something to paint on, anyway I guess it was an adult’s point of view.
Children grow rapidly and we hope that we are one of the ingredients of life of a person that helps the same children to have creative stimulation and to see things from a different point of view.
Tell us about the collaboration with We Love, what brought to you together. They’re certainly one of the only people on the island pushing real left of centre music on a larger scale.
We Love is an extremely interesting organisation and we are delighted to collaborate with them. We deeply respect them for what they do musically. Every Sunday at Space they have a rich line up like a festival. Their programme is eclectic and has taste. They work with headliners and with emerging artists, they never loose sight for quality.
It was a great pleasure last year presenting an interactive project at Space in the main room where we had fantastic feedback from the dance floor. An interactive show by Digital Genetic Pasta.
This year WE LOVE BLOOP, the project that came to life last year continues to grow in various venues likeSpace Ibiza and Far de ses Coves Blanques, the festival`s headquarters.
I recommend everybody not to miss the 11th of August Space`s birthday! BLOOP hosts El Salon with a Freakatronic concert and a session by Pineapple Crocodile, while in the main room where Fat Boy Slim, 2 Many Djs and other big names will play, Digital Genetic Pasta will be playing his disks too.
How important is the synergy of music and art within this project?
Extremely important. The sound effects and music of the expositions and in some cases surround 7.1. Sounds and music we mainly work with our records label, which we also produced a BLOOP Compilation 2013, you can listen to it exclusively for free on Deezer!
Anything else you’d like to discuss but we haven’t asked about?
We are a small festival, only at its 3rd edition and we don`t have any intentions to identify ourselves as art or festival. In history there has been thousands of festivals but if we ask ourselves today how many interesting festivals are there in the worldonly 20 may come to mindif I were to reply, a festival that changed something it would be Woodstock, obviouslybut actually what I hope is that even though we are small, other festivals can understand the importance of the message that being conveyed and that they understand that you don`t do things just to earn money but to illustrate something, something that allows people to place themselves in conditions to think.
Organising an independent festival of 35 days with activities all over the island for free is one of the most challenging work experience we`ve had.
Despite everything I`m proud and happy about the results. I`d like to take this occasion to thank everybody, artists, partners and friends who believe in this project and who allowed us to produce this festival.
What lovely people. If you’re on the white isle in August we strongly recommend you go and check what’s going on with BLOOP. Ibiza is a wonderful island with a myriad things to offer if you step out of the mass.
Check www.bloop-festival.com for more details