Balkan Art Scene
AymoLive - Removing Barriers To Access The Arts From Every Corner Of The World
Vanja Perić i Ivan Magaš
AymoLive is a type of concept where artists are presented in a live video, but it's not archived as it usually goes with live events on social media. How did you come up with this idea? And why, exactly, to be left without archived material to watch later?
Yes, the streams are really live and the content is not saved or archived. The goal is to create a connection in the moment, similar to how you would if you attended an event in person. Performance art, storytelling, poetry, music… it's all a way of communication that allows people from different cultures and generations to communicate via images, sounds and stories. For us, art is something spontaneous, something that is created in the moment.
Both from the perspective of artists and audiences, real-time performances tend to be more casual, spontaneous and uncensored, making it feel more natural and exciting. Also, there is that social component where artists can directly engage with their fans via live chat which not only enables fans to communicate with their favourite artist, but also makes the whole experience much more interactive.
Digitization is a process which was fast-forwarded during the pandemic. Have you managed such tempo in your personal dynamics as artists? Has it created any change for you?
Well, the pandemic certainly created a vacuum in the world of art and culture. Theaters were closed, as were art exhibits, concerts were cancelled and festivals postponed. There is no doubt that this put a lot of artists in an unprecedented situation and challenged them to rethink how they present their content. Digitalization and transition to online events surely gave us the opportunity to continue enjoying the beauty of art during lockdowns; however, the demand for online events has been increasing for some time now. The pandemic simply highlighted the opportunity to use streaming as a tool to provide greater access to the arts.
Now, when things are slowly getting back to ‘normal’, the demand for online events is still here. We see online events as a complement to in-person events, not as a replacement. As emerging artists continue face challenges of how to reach and connect with wider audiences we continue to work towards removing barriers to access the arts by providing artists a stage where they can present their art and audiences can experience art from every corner of the world.
Independent artists are your focus group for AymoLive performances. Is there a geographical location which you prefer?
Independent and emerging artists and art organizations are our focus group. We strongly support diversity and believe in the beauty and peculiarity of cultural and artistic expression of every country, town or individual. Our mission is to connect emerging art scenes from around the world to foster collaboration and make art and culture available to everyone, regardless of geographical location.
Artists which you collaborate with are visual artists, poets, musicians… What are your latest activities?
AymoLive is open to all types of artforms and we’ve hosted poets, storytellers, visual artists, musicians, actors, plus others. Currently we’re putting a little more focus on spoken word and performance art. Our goal is to provide opportunities and access to what we believe to be underserved areas in the arts, especially when it comes to online performances.
Not long ago a group of young poets from the Balkans, known as the Temple of Poets got together on AymoLive and came up with the so-called Collection Games. They gather every Tuesday via AymoLive and read two poems on a previously given theme. Each week they welcome a special guest, another poet, who collects others' thoughts and creates a poem during the stream. Once again art is crafted in the moment and that poem is the only trace of the game.
We’ve been making connections and working on projects with various artists and art organizations from around the world… Poetry and open mic events live from NYC, live performances from The Netherlands, Egypt, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Spain, backyard festivals from Glasgow.
Most recently we’ve partnered with Sofia Underground – International Performance Art Festival held in person in Sofia, Bulgaria. A festival which takes place over 5 days, where 30+ artists from 10+ countries will present their work. We are extremely honoured that for the first time since it was founded in 1997 the festival will be broadcasted live to the rest of the world via AymoLive.
In which direction is AymoLive going? Are you keeping things fully digital?
AymoLive was initially envisioned to be fully digital, however the concept has evolved as a result of the feedback we’ve received from artists and fans who the platform is here to serve. Today we see it as a mix of digital only performances, as well as in-person performances which are streamed.
Our team is meeting and communicating with emerging artists from various parts of the world to see how AymoLive can solve the obstacles faced by young, emerging independent artists. For example, two themes that are common globally amongst emerging artists are lack of venues to perform and exhibit their work and limited, often local, audience reach. So, for those artists who would like to host a hybrid event (in-person but streamed) we've worked to help them find suitable venues, as well as provided additional organizational and technical support. Furthermore, we work together with the artist to promote the event providing them access to a wider, global audience.
Our goal is not a total digitalization of live cultural and artistic events; rather to make the best of advancements in technology and complement in person events, with the purpose of making art and culture more accessible and connected.
Author: Hana Tiro