Time passes by quickly. We already left our first big stop behind us – sadly. For the second time, we were so lucky to visit ROG in Ljubljana, a former bicycle factory which was squatted ten years ago and now is the home to a big variety of autonomously organized spaces: art studios, a circus training space, a community center, a skate park, and many more. Last year, we got to know the people who run the Cirkosarna (the circus space). Last weekend, they organized the first festival of experimental circus in Ljubljana: Padec – “Fall”. Many guests, circus artists as well as volunteers and friends, came to ROG and put together three great days of workshops, street shows, an open stage and different shows on the factory area.
The festival was organized in a time where it’s more important than ever to show the public and municipality of Ljubljana the importance of places like ROG. The city has plans to tear down parts of the factory and renovate the rest into a cultural center. One might think that not so much is going to change after all, but the cultural center is only a part of the reality. In fact, the city’s plans include luxury apartment buildings and an application process for the people of ROG if they want to continue with their activities. Some months ago, the city sent workers with a bulldozer in the middle of a Sunday night and entered ROG. Needless to say, not really a fair procedure. There was a lot of solidarity with the factory, many people came to support, and managed to close in the bulldozer and consequently force the city to negotiate. There was a lot of media covering the situation, not always positively. Right now, the situation has calmed down a little. However, the people of ROG told us that it’s probably going to start again when the city opens an exhibition about the real plans of the area. We really hope that ROG is going to win and can stay as it is. It’s a great place with great people, providing space for many kinds of activities and people of all ages and backgrounds. If you want to know more about the space and the actual situation, check: ROG website
The festival of experimental circus offered us the opportunity to play the premiere of our street show. It worked out pretty well: the beautiful background of Ljubljana’s old town and a cheering crowd. Apart from street shows, we also played in ROG’s courtyard. Playing in front of circus artists was especially great for the feedback and (constructive) critique we got. Also, it was inspiring to watch other people perform. As ROG is so big, it provides space for all kinds of experiments, for instance an aerial silk show in the staircase of the main factory building – 15 meters high, the public standing on the stairs. Simply breathtaking.
Thanks so much to the lovely people of ROG for welcoming us in such a warm manner and for putting up this great festival. We hope you will be able to do it again next year, and we would be more than happy to come back and take part!
Below, you can see some impressions of our street shows in Ljubljana. Also, we got invited to a hunting hut in mountains in Slovenia for a night. A bed and a warm shower were a real treat. Right now, we are already in Croatia. Sorry for updating so late, internet is a rare good these days. Pictures of Croatia coming up very soon, we’re trying hard to squeeze it in in between the shows!
Love and solidarity with ROG,