9 October 2015, the tenth day of KSEVT’s cofounder Miha Turšič’s hunger strike
Today’s press conference unexpectedly attracted many people, yet there was only a few journalists present. I do not know whether this a good or a bad sign. I announced a tactical shift because the time for quick and elegant solutions is up. The Ministry of Culture still does not understand. It repeats statements it invented to destroy the idea of KSEVT. Mr. Peršak, the only artist at the ministry whom I silently counted on, copied and signed the Minister’s spin. Therefore, I listened more to Mr. Matič as he announced a special session of the Committee of Culture at the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia where we shall discuss KSEVT. He asked me to interrupt the strike and gain strength for the session on Wednesday. I certainly will not break my strike and will be very present on Wednesday, even though I shall be completely silent.
I am glad so many smart texts have been written so far. I was enthralled by Dolar’s letter that we had read at the press conference, in the part where he positions the ministry into the realm of inexplicable evil. He says: “It seems nothing is more dangerous and damaging to our culture than our very ministries of culture.”
I hereby enclose his lucid insight to the psychopathology of my reality so it does not get lost.
KSEVT is a monument that stirs enthusiasm. Not only mine, ours, Slovenian, this enthusiasm has been globally spreading throughout Europe and the world. KSEVT evokes enthusiasm merely by the fact that it exists; that it was built in these simple-minded and dim-witted times of never-ending reductions and financial cuts; that it actually could be built, based on a fascinating vision and immense energy of a few individuals; that it established a programme that goes beyond all local limitations, beyond the usual attitude of Slovenian culture that builds on a notion of national uniqueness, a programme that literally reaches for the stars. Only a culture capable of surpassing itself can truly be culture.
It therefore seems rather incredible that the Ministry of Culture is incapable of acknowledging that something extraordinary has happened; that such an object and such a programme are most certainly a matter of national interest in culture and deserve adequate funding. Instead, we are faced with excuses and feigned ignorance regarding authority and, moreover, malevolent exposure of accounting-bureaucratic complications which could all be solved quite easily with a little good will. On the one hand, we have a fascinating vision fuelled by KSEVT; on the other hand, there is an utter lack of vision at the Ministry of Culture. This complete lack of having an ear and understanding for KSEVT is a part of the wider picture where the Ministry of Culture cannot offer anything but reductions and financial cuts that seem to have become a regular feature of cultural politics in Slovenia over the past twenty years, actively supported by left and right governments. It seems nothing is more dangerous and damaging to our culture than our very ministries of culture.
I feel that I am not only speaking on my behalf, but on the behalf of the majority of Slovenian cultural public when I express solidarity with Miha Turšič, a man of brave vision and immense energy, and demand of the Ministry to set a new foundation for the existence and financial support of KSEVT at once, thus enabling its continuation and expansion. A hunger strike is a drastic and voluntary act, but this literal starvation has now become an emblem of how Slovenian cultural politics forces culture into metaphorical and involuntary starvation.
Earlier this morning I was visited by a doctor: status quo.