Albena Baeva (she/her) is at the forefront of interactive art in Bulgaria. She works with artificial intelligence (AI), physical computing, creative coding, and augmented reality, pushing for a feminist discourse in tech-art (art that intertwines with technological innovation) and how AI impacts climate change. Learn more about her work on her website, follow her on Instagram, and read more about her thoughts on AI and feminisms below.
Every day, I felt I had to be that artist who knew more about technology than anyone else in the room. Before, I thought that was the difficult part. But I learned that isn’t true. Getting recognition as a technically capable woman is much more challenging than gaining technical skills or knowledge.Albena Baeva
What role do you think art can play in social change?
Contemporary art becomes relevant when it comments on our social and political realities. Artworks connect with an audience on a rational and emotional level, so they convey messages and ignite a fire. The most powerful aspect of art in the context of social change is its ability to focus the public's attention on a specific issue. As a result, art can start the process of trauma recognition and serve as a much-needed medium for healing.
How would you describe your experience creating tech-art and supporting social movements?
Every day, I felt I had to be that artist who knew more about technology than anyone else in the room. Before, I thought that was the difficult part. But I learned that isn’t true. Getting recognition as a technically capable woman is much more challenging than gaining technical skills or knowledge. My art practice and my work to support other artists aim to gain recognition for the women in my field. Creating alternative exhibition venues such as Gallery Gallery, the first gallery space exclusively focused on digital art in Bulgaria, and the augmented reality sculpture park Ploshtadka has been of great value in this endeavor.
What do you hope to achieve through this award?
I will continue to present women artists and their fantastic technological work at Gallery Gallery and Ploshtadka. I will also create a new body of feminist work that is concerned with the impact of AI on climate change and our society as a whole, and hopefully help establish a feminist approach to social and political tech-art.
Albena Baeva is the recipient of the 2023 Denise Allen Emerging Artist Award for Global Fund for Women’s Artist Changemaker program. The Denise Allen Emerging Artist Award is given to one Artist Changemaker annually in memory of long-time Global Fund for Women and International Museum of Women supporter Denise Allen, in honor of her passion for the arts and social justice.