5 October 2015, the sixth day of KSEVT’s cofounder Miha Turšič’s hunger strike
The Minister did not come to the meeting alone. She does not read her emails or my public statements. This, well this as well, is why she did not greet me as an artist. She told me that she too studied astronomy and knows more about space culturalisation than I do. She greeted me as one greets a criminal who created expenses of undesignated funds using taxpayers’ money. The first claim I put forth at the beginning of the strike was therefore refuted. The second claim which the media were not precise enough about in their summaries, or, which I obviously did not express clearly enough, is the demand for a functional solution that would transform KSEVT into an institution of national significance. The Minister believes such a possibility could result from collaboration of three ministries (economics, science/education and culture). She probably has a hunch that this would be an elegant way to get KSEVT off her back. As for my third claim, she countered with her project of the so-called Intervention Law on Necessary Interventions in Culture, which would bring 168 million EUR into culture, mostly for cultural heritage, over the next five years. Evidently, the Minister prefers dead artists to those alive.
A lot of journalists gathered at the second press conference in front of the Trieste Constructivist Cabinet at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. I summed up my failed encounter with the Minister and repeated my decision to carry on with the hunger strike. Despite the murky morning at 10, Maistrova Street, I was lightened up by the statements given by the Director of the Museum of Modern Art Zdenka Badovinacc, who placed my strike in the context of the historical experience of contemporary art and dr. Oto Luthar, President of ZRC SAZU’s contribution, which, referring to his personal example, elaborated on the synergies between art and science that emerge in good and bad times.
I attach both letters, in order to once again highlight the thematic and historical continuity of KSEVT’s activities.
The letter of the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Mrs. Zdenka Badovinac:
The Museum of Modern Art’s statement regarding acting director of KSEVT Miha Turšič’s hunger strike, published on 5.10.2015
The Museum of Modern Art responded to Miha Turšič’s request to conduct a protest in the form of a hunger strike in its exhibition halls during the museum’s opening hours:
- Because the exhibition halls of the Museum of Modern Art, a national institution for modern and contemporary art, are intended for public dialogue and initiatives, which sometimes also involve protests, which directly or indirectly touch upon issues related to contemporary art. Artists’ acts of protest are, ultimately, also to be interpreted in the context of their art. The reconstruction of the Trieste Constructivist Cabinet from 1927 in the Museum of Modern Art was conceived by Miha Turšič and Dragan Živadinov. They gave the initiative for including this important work, which may be seen as a prototype of the contemporary installation, into our permanent collection, and therefore into the narrative of our national art history. In doing so, they made a key contribution to historicizing the marginalized historical avantgardes, at the same time calling for a contextualization of their own work in the framework of local traditions. Today’s Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) in Vitanje can only be understood with the help of levitating objects from the Trieste Cabinet.
- Because the existence of KSEVT is not only important for the development of contemporary art in Slovenia, but also has a pioneering role in space culturalisation research on an international level. Putting an end to such an important activity, performed by KSEVT, would not only be an irreparable loss for our immediate context, but for a broader context, as well. Just after we all thought that Turšič-Zupančič-Živadinov were breaking the myth of the tragedy of the Slovenian artist with the project of KSEVT, it seems that it is about to return.
- Because the protest is related to a general state of affairs and to the position culture has in Slovenian society, which is reflected in the financial undernourishment of cultural institutions, independent producers, and artists as well. Furthermore, the position and significance of culture for the State are also reflected in the proposals of the national budget for 2016 and 2017, where, despite an overall increase of the budget, less and less is being allocated to culture. The Museum of Modern Art, comprising its two museums, is also a victim of several years of consecutive budget cuts. At the same time, repressive departments are receiving more money! This says a lot about the vision of the development of Slovenian society. And all of this slow decay is met with no political power or will for cultural policy reforms.
The Museum of Modern Art wishes Miha Turšič’s protest to come to an end as soon as possible, and with constructive and specific solutions for KSEVT and culture and art in Slovenia.
Letter of the President of ZRC SAZU, Mr. Oto Luthar:
THE REASONS I AM HERE
The formal reason lies in my former membership in the Council of the Institute of KSEVT.
I was very serious about this role, as I believed the activities of Dunja Zupančič, Dragan Živadinov and Miha Turšič conducted in collaboration with their many associates to be one of the most important artistic (and not only artistic) projects in Slovenia over the past decade. Even on a global scale, the idea is nothing short of genius.
From the very beginning, I have understood space culturalisation as a logical continuation of what occurred in Divje Babe 60,000 years ago, when expression was born through music. In archeology, that finding created havoc, moving the beginning of artistic expression to a time 20,000 years earlier than estimated before …
After KSEVT, which is peeking into the future, it seems somewhat logical that man will not be able to give up this primal activity, i.e. producing art for its own sake, wherever it might take place, on Earth or in space.
This is actually the second reason I am here today.
I feel that both the idea and the way it is presented are simply extraordinary.
The third reason lies in my admiration of the energy that Turšič, Živadinov and Zupančič have invested in the implementation of their idea.
A lot of energy, perseverance, and renunciation were necessary to achieve that Vitanje today possesses a marvelous building that I consider to be a perpetually functional apparatus of sense-making. Whoever has tried to improve the conditions of making art … or science in Slovenia, knows that it is the labour of Sisyphus, and the idea conceived by TZŽ is a real utopia. It requires constant, incessant labour. And this is what struck me when I met Miha Turšič. Just like KSEVT, he is constantly plugged in. Every cell in person is the cell of a labourer, and this is why I understand him. Moreover, this is why I support the demands he set out to achieve with his strike.
Finally, I would like to add that I am ashamed that I have not joined his strike. Science is not doing any better and over the past years, it has been managed by similarly inadequate people, and yet, we scientists have not been able to produce anything but a few impotent articles, several radio and TV appearances and sign one exceptionally anemic statement of the Rector conference and Coordination of independent research institutes.
I am also ashamed because I know that the nepotism of party elites and their entourage is something we should be pointing out and preventing on an everyday basis, and yet I am not doing anything, or doing very, very little against it myself.