Collective Statement About Opening Rog to the Public

Poslal-a pirman, Čet, 13/04/2006 - 23:57

Saturday 25th of March 2006 marked the start of the initiative to open the abandoned bicycle factory Rog for temporary use, with the intent to carry out non-profit, non-established activities on its premises.

It is not a classic occupation of space, but a temporary alteration of its purposes. The 7000 square meter large factory – owned by the City of Ljubljana (hereafter MOL) – has already been left to decay for 15 years. As long as MOL doesn't develop and begin implementing a clear strategy to solve the problem of these empty premises, we self-initiatively wish to open it to all individuals and groups engaged in the non-profit sector, for the realization of independent production of cultural and social content.

As a non-formal network of individuals we believe that our actions are completely legitimate and well-grounded, although, at the moment, lacking official permission. Our action was stimulated by the City Council with their profit-based mentality, bad management, and incorrect reaction to our initiative. At first, MOL agreed to lend these premises for a series of debates, lectures and exhibitions about the temporarily useless building and its future, but later changed its mind and cancelled the verbal contract half an hour before signing the official agreement.

MOL explained that the decision to call off the cooperation was provoked by phone calls from local residents, who complained that “We don’t want a new Metelkova as our neighbour!” Here we would like to point out that we support the grounds on which Metelkova City Cultural Centre is based, but that in the premises of the abandoned factory Rog we wish to develop a different way of action, based on temporality and day activities, and hope to include and satisfy the needs of the local community surrounding it. For that purpose we have started the cleaning and technical renovations of the completely neglected and until now dysfunctional space. We think that a self-initiated and self-organized joint action is urgently necessary in a climate of intolerance and passivity, where one or two phone calls are able to paralyse an initiative carried out voluntarily for the benefit of the local community.

Until the City of Ljubljana finds a solution for the 7000 square meters of unused space in Rog, that very space can – instead of staying merely forsaken and unexploited – host ateliers, music, video or graphic studios, theatre and dance halls, meeting rooms for different associations, playgrounds, social activities etc. We want to open a public space for entirely non-profitable and independent activities, and through this initiative contribute to the quality of art, culture, social health, thought and life in Ljubljana.

In the premises of the abandoned factory Rog, March 29th 2006, at 9 p.m.

The temporary users of the factory Rog premises

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