New ideas in old places
Curator: Dáša Čiripová
Installation: JaOnMi CreatureS
Based on material provided by the cultural centres featured
Old places imbued with new ideas: this is how the trend that emerged a few decades ago might be summed up, of reclaiming industrial buildings, old factories or railway stations and turning them into cultural centres.
Once the era of constructing huge manufacturing centres came to an end in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, these places stopped serving their original purpose and were gradually abandoned. This development was repeated in Eastern Europe a few years later, following the end of communism. Deserted places that had once been functional attracted new generations of creative minds – artists, designers and architects who saw in them a potential for serving a new purpose. The transformation of old into new originated in New York, initiated by Andy Warhol who turned a loft into a gigantic studio, the now legendary The Factory. His idea was emulated by many other artists. Spaces with rough brick walls, exposed iron- and metalwork, pipes, and beams began to resound with music as they became the venue for exhibitions, theatre and dance performances, happenings and variety of other cultural activities.
Defunct old buildings acquired a new cultural persona, ushering in innovation that signalled change and freedom. Disused industrial spaces were converted to serve new purposes while respecting the original genius loci and preserving the memory of the buildings’ former function. Industrial buildings had been conceived in accordance with a strict and exact engineering logic as complexes that had to meet specific technological requirements, facilitating rational and effective organisation of both work and the workforce. This has made them ideal places for people to work as they unleash their creativity and forge partnerships around the clock. After renovation these sites have taken on many new functions, from intercultural nodes o punk culture, from communities to eco-communities, from neighbourly relations to anarchist squats. The trend of reclaiming defunct sites as cultural centres forms a logical and pragmatic link between an old and a new content.
The exhibition entitled Performing Spaces presents four cultural spaces, which have successfully realized the vision of linking the old with the new, becoming an active and irreplaceable part of the cultural art scene in Slovakia, especially its independent part. The large number of ways in which these spaces can be exploited has helped such art forms as contemporary dance to survive in Slovakia.
The photos shown at this exhibition document the process of refurbishment, the dramaturgy of the spaces, as well as the financial and human resources of these cultural centres.