The ‘Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Center‘, in Ljubljana, Slovenia—more commonly known and much easier said ‘Metelkova’— is a composition of seven buildings and outdoor space run by independent leaders of civic engagement, political action groups, and artists of music, painting, sculpture, literature, theater, printmaking and other arts. It is also well known for its weekend exhibitions (i.e. dancing and flirting and laughing all night.)
Metelkova was created in 1991 when the Yugoslav People’s Army vacated the former military barracks on Metelko Street, and several groups of impassioned leaders of contemporary art would move to transform the space into a vital den of and civic art-based culture. These leaders have occupied the area ever since while participation and support has immeasurably.
Not surprisingly, this ongoing collision of all types of art, events, gestures, theories and plans for what the space should be, creates a certain ongoing contention that has resulted in great debate, and sometimes, destruction. In the summer of 2006, the Inspectorate for the Environment and Spatial Planning demolished ‘the Small School’.
Cultural centers similar to Metelkova are found throughout Europe and are an important component in breathing a historic flow into contemporary Europe. It is a little DADA. A bit Zeitgeist. It is a taste of the old and one of the new.
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