The Slovenia Times

Manning the Fort



vinced that pulling down Mala sola would be the first step in the total destruction this urban phenomenon of Ljubljana. As the buildings' owner (Municipality of Ljubljana) couldn't find the funds (or the will) to properly conclude the renovations, the numerous artists, cultural organisations and clubs that occupy the site took matters into their own hands. They invited a German association of young travelling craftsmen "Axt und Kelle" to a summer workshop and thus provided a low budget solution to the problem. The workshop resulted in the erection of some new buildings and a make-over for many of the existing ones. The renovations provided Metelkova with a new look, a few more buildings and new ateliers for artists. However, the buildings are not legal. But this is an old story as far as Metelkova is concerned. Though it has always been legitimate and has always enjoyed terrific support from the general public, it has never been fully legal. In the end, the buildings stayed, but the incident raised a number of questions about the status of Metelkova. Should it institutionalize or should it continue to be a loose network of subcultures, clubs and artists. Representatives from Metelkova claim that the latter is Metelkova's true nature. They want it to continue to represent an alternative to mainstream society and culture. Metelkova is one of the largest centres for alternative culture in this part of Europe. It's beginnings date back to the early nineties, when a small group of individuals began to demilitarize the ex-military barracks. Instead of solders and military parades, they envisaged the barracks being populated by artists and cultural events. After years of struggle with the city authorities, who wanted to pull the buildings down, the vision became a reality. Today Metelkova hosts six clubs and numerous art ateliers. Its rich cultural programme represents a substantial part of Ljubljana's nightlife and it has become a melting pot of different subcultures, art practices and a place of alternative ethics. Metelkova is definitely at the crossroads of different subcultures, people and artists, but without it Ljubljana just wouldn't have the same urban spirit.


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