Renovating the shipyard 4

Renovating the shipyard 4


20 years is a respectable age for a squat. Not only for a squat. Such time frames are ungraspable in this economy. It’s fast becoming an anomaly for something to last long enough for a human child to grow up and leave the house.

We are playing with three historical moments here.

October 1st 1950. The workers of the Lošinj shipyard take control over the shipyard in Mali Lošinj on the island of Lošinj in the northern Adriatic sea. At some point a memorial monument of the event is placed in the shipyard, a marble plate mounted on a rough boulder: “TODAY WE TAKE CONTROL OVER THE SHIPYARD”. It’s Yugoslavian third-way communism and worker’s self management. Despite what follows, the stone is still standing.

September 10th 1993. The activists in the Mreža za Metelkovo network take control over the former Belgian military barracks in Metelkova street in Ljubljana. The barracks are empty because the Yugoslavian army has left the nest, but the city council is indecisive about giving away the space to the citizens’ movement. When the city choose to illegally destroy the buildings instead of collaborating with the network, the activists decide to jump the fence and squat the area. It’s transition between Yugoslavian east block communism and liberal democracy in the new born state of Slovenia.

September 10th 2013. 20th anniversary of the Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova mesto. The squat is still self-governed and the decisions about the future of the former military barracks are in the hands of Forum, the communal decision-making body. It’s late crisis in the era of liberal democracy under the protective trade union Europe. A memorial stone in the memory of the squatting is placed at the entrance of the cultural center, a marble plate mounted on a rough boulder: “TODAY WE TAKE CONTROL OVER THE MILITARY BARRACKS”.

The fact is that nobody knows what we will “work” with in the future. When will the transition from self-governed cultural centre to “creative industry” be completed? Can the autonomy of the cultural centre survive the late era of globalized capitalism? In the Lošinj shipyard the old and the new economic realities coexist, while the shipyard is struggling to survive the economic crisis, artists have been returning to the island for the Škver festival of experimental and fringe art every summer since 2010. All over Europe old industrial complexes are turned into creative industries. The politicians hope that the young creative precarious cultural workers will invent new ways to create economic growth where there was no capital exchange before. As freelancers of course. No unions, no factories, no employers, no workers – just office hotels and free wi-fi for all. Infrastructure to work anywhere, anytime with anybody online. At this moment, in 2013, the right metaphor for work is an endless feed that you scroll down with your index finger.

The stone is still standing.

/Anna Ehrlemark 2013-08-28



The memorial stone for Metelkova’s 20th anniversary is a part of the Urban Art Projects for artistic renovation of ACC Metelkova mesto, produced by Kud Mreža

Renovating the shipyard is an ongoing project in collaboration with film maker Igor bezinović and ŠKVER! art project in Mali Lošinj, Croatia.

Renovating the shipyard 1,2,3 is here.

The monument for the 20th anniversary of ACC Metelkova mesto was made in collaboration with sculptur Tomaž Furlan and Dejan Jayasinghe from Kunovar & kamni In Ljubljana.

We would like to thank Kunovar & kamni for the generous donation of rock and stone, a material that stands the beat of time.