78. google tourist

1. calligraphy

The writing on the wall was the last thing I did. But it was also the one that gave the whole exhibition a certain coherence. It was in fact a quite explicit statement, speaking about the state's will to entirely rebuild the so-called temporary autonomous zone, by offering a new look but also a lack of content. However, I was also questioning the discourse of the alternative center itself, linked to the will to save/radically change the world, a will that was so visibly limited by reality and by the given accomplishments which were obviously far from any equality or freedom-related ideal.

2. triglav, euro

Triglav is the name of the highest mountain in Slovenia, but it is at the same time a national symbol. For me as a tourist it was surprising to discover it everywhere - on t-shirts, on the tail of the airplane, on the coat of arms of the country, but also in the logos of commercial companies. It was also very much present in Slovenian contemporary art.

The three-headed mountain is some sort of total symbol, used by almost everybody, from Communist partisans who had a stylized version - a jagged line, to the local administration and even the citizens who use the image to define themselves. Because the Triglav was such a widely known symbol in Slovenia, I also used it in my exhibition, to my own ends.

I wanted to underline the fact that Slovenia was no longer governed by ideology, but by money. So I built a styrofoam rainbow in order to outline the naive image of the white mountain on the wildly colored background, promising a satisfaction that seems accessible and immediate at the first glance. However, the rainbow was branded with the Euro symbol, reducing the generosity of the sensation produced by the colors to a contractual relationship. I was also interested in creating a link to the writing on the wall, stressing the fact that there are some false promises floating around us.

3. mirror

At the center of the image a section of the former Yugoslav army barracks can be seen. Using the mirror, I created a replica of this area, creating together with the image projected on the wall the illusion of a inner yard. The image on the wall is the southern area of Metelkova, the one that was completely rebuilt by the state. It is currently known as the Ethnographic Museum, but there are plans for it to become a future Museumsquartier for the city of Ljubljana, similar to the one in Vienna.

The northern part of Metelkova is not shown in the installation I made, being replaced by the reflection of the southern area. My intention was to point to the fragility of the alternative cultural center in the nothern area, that can be wiped out by the state. At the same time I wanted to show the fact that even if the southern part belongs to the state and has a contemporary architecture environment, together with northern part, which is connected to the alternative movement and to certain subcultures it forms a larger area that from a functional point of view is quite homogeneous - being the area where cultural products are being produced for the population of the city.

4. north and south

I have written to images of Metelkova taken from Google Earth on a dvd. Each of the images tries to best describe the vicinity of each of the areas of Metelkova. The south, in the image below, is obviously placed in a residential area. The geometric shape in the middle of the image is a roller blading grounds, on which people play hockey. To the left there is the Ethnographic Museum, which was still a building site in 2007 when the satellite photo was taken.

The north, where the alternative center is situated, is surrounded by completely different vicinities, being placed in a railroad area, with marshalling yards and other railroad utilities.

5. badge

I turned Metelkova into a Mc Donald's because when I was there I was under the impression that the ideal from the beginnings of the place, which was formulated by the people who laid the foundations of the alternative cultural center was lost along the way. Intellectual activity was no longer very visible, and the place seemed suffocated by entertainment and by passive, consumerist attitudes.

In the beginning I wanted to leave the small painting in the exhibition. However, during a conversation the idea to wear it as a badge came up. I glued some double-layered adhesive tape to its back and then stuck it on my t-shirt. At the end of the opening I unglued it and when I got back home to Romania I gave it to Vlad Nanca as a gift. Lately I have been receiving a lot of help from quite a few people. When it is possible, I would like to show my gratitude.

6. opening

On youtube there is a short movie in which three out of the five curators I have worked with are speaking in Slovene about the show. There are also a few images from the opening and even from the production of the exhibition. For the production process go here.