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Slovenia ready for opening weekend of Capital of Culture

Slovenia ready for opening weekend of Capital of Culture ( The program for the opening weekend of European Capital of Culture was revealed today in the Vetrinjski Court. The opening event will take place between January 13-15, 2012. The official opening ceremony will be broadcast live by RTV Slovenia on Saturday, January 14 from 8:00 pm until 9:00 pm at Leon Štukelj's Square. Keynote speakers will be Danilo Türk, PhD, honorable sponsor of European Capital of Culture and President of the Republic of Slovenia, and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth. Opening ceremonies in partner towns are scheduled between January 20 and February 10.

Suzana Žilič Fišer, PhD, Director-General, stressed: “Opening ceremony symbolizes a beginning of a project, beginning of awareness that citizens of Maribor are part of one of the most important projects on the European Cultural playground. Title is shared with partner towns, and last but not least, the whole country, Slovenia, that is demonstrating its cultural potential across its borders. Let this be a celebration of the strength that culture has as a steering wheel of human development.”
“Every team that trains long enough questions its potential and hopes for the best - anxiously awaits the first whistle from a referee. Opening weekend will be a proof that our energy input was not in vain, I am sure of it,” added Mitja Čander, Program Director.

Opening weekend is the opening act into the happening that is going to flood the region with culture in the broadest sense possible in the year 2012.

“We will begin with opening of Cultural Embassies that will carry ECOC across its boarders, symbolically and nationally. The main opening event will be a pillar artistic statement, while the closing event of an opening weekend will be an opera with a title Black mask,” explained Alma Čaušević, Main Executive Program Producer.

Milan Gregorn, Executive Creative Producer, announced that more than one hundred Slovenian artists can be expected to perform at the opening ceremony. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a spectacular laser show, while Dan D, a highly-acclaimed rock group will close the ceremony with their concert.
Following are projects from the press conferences to be held at the press center MARIBOR 2012 - European Capital of Culture.

Friday, January 13, 2012, at 7:00 pm
Gosposvetska cesta 17
2000 Maribor

EX-GARAGE, the first of many projects of the European Capital of Culture program, is brought to you by Fundacija Sonda, the foundation for theory and practice in art. During the opening weekend, two events will take place as part of Ex-Garage: the exhibition “" and the presentation of original T-shirts “WALKING GALLERY. The program strand is aimed at uniting numerous educational and thematic projects, as well as supporting the development of photography in Maribor and beyond.

This guerrilla-like, low-budget project seeks to encourage discussion on and diversify the offer of contemporary fine arts in Maribor. With its wide range of programs – including exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and public discussions – it facilitates the presentation of new tendencies and approaches in contemporary fine arts – with emphasis on photography and new media.

The origins of Ex-Garage can be traced back into 2004, when Fundacija Sonda and artist Primož Bizjak joined forces to create the Garage of artistic photography in Pekarna. In 2004 and 2005, the former garage in the Maribor alternative center Pekarna was transformed into an independent exhibition site, where artists like Primož Bizjak, Miloš Srdić, Nejc Saje, Damjan Kocjančič, Gian-Luca Faccio, Borut Peterlin, Magda Tothova, Christine Tsilidis, Janja Glogovac, Manca Juvan, and Rita Nowak were able to exhibit their work. 2006 saw the birth of two publications containing the exhibited photographs, regarding the subject matter of male and female position in the garage of artistic photography.

Fundacija Sonda was formed through the creative cooperation between Metka Golec, then a student of architecture in Graz and photography in Vienna, and Miha Horvat, a student of anthropology and film in Ljubljana and photography and new media in Vienna. Both artists have been working together since 2000. Fundacija Sonda is the creative answer to the poor conditions of Slovene artistic photography. Nowadays, the Ex-Garage projects are mostly involved in photography exhibitions.

Friday, January 13, 2012, 10:30 pm
Zavod Udarnik
Grajski trg 1
2000 Maribor

The first day of the European Capital of Culture Opening weekend will end at the Zavod Udarnik, where electro beats will keep the pop culture aficionados moving until the early morning hours. Dance rhythms will be provided by local electro music artists, united under the name Society of Hedonistic Creatives, with their Digital Delight project. With this and all the rest the night has to offer, the guests will bear witness to an overture in the sphere of modern, in particular electronic, music
Digital Delight project sets out to bring listeners up-to-date with quality domestic and foreign electronic music. The projects aims to transcend social boundaries and connect people through culture, as well as create new communication channels for present and future up-and-coming electro music artists. Digital Delight is a means to connect local, regional, and international artists of modern electro and instrumental music, who are active in the audio-visual, performance, and fine arts. The goal is to transcend present stereotypes, which often treat electro music as inferior to classical, instrumental music, and to bring the true artistic value and beauty of the music to wider audiences. The project consists of three strands, forming a unified and inter-media approach which encourages, spreads and promotes quality electro music.

In addition to the event itself, the world-wide audience has an excellent opportunity to listen directly to the music at the following web address: . Turku 2011 will close the evening of the Cultural embassies with a night of electronic rhythms, spinning the audience into the morning of the European capital of culture. The dance floor will be shaken by the legendary Jimi Tenor and the Dj Esko Routamaa.

Saturday, January 14, 2012, at 7:00 pm
Mladinska ulica 3
2000 Maribor

The second day of the opening weekend belongs to the projects, prepared by the University of Maribor and its registered members. An important part of the maiden RAZ:UM project are the architecture projects, the most important being Hiša arhitekture (The House of Architecture). The project will present modern architectural achievements, spatial planning and design, as well as generate numerous urban repositioning projects.

In collaboration with the Zbornica za arhitekturo in prostor Slovenije (ZAPS) (Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning Slovenia), Društvo arhitektov Maribor (Association of Architects of Maribor) and other associations of architects in Slovenia and the wider area, it will coordinate events and the promotion of modern architecture. The opening will begin with an exhibition of the Hiša Arhitekture design competition. The competition includes all projects, which will bring together architectural ideas and new plans for the development of urban environments in 2012.

Hiša Arhitekture (House of Architecture) is an institution, which will operate under the auspices of the University of Maribor. In collaboration with the Zbornico za arhitekturo in prostor Slovenije (ZAPS) (Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning Slovenia), Društvom arhitektov Maribor (Association of Architects of Maribor) and other associations of architects in Slovenia and the wider area, it will coordinate events and the promotion of modern architecture.

MEDIA CONTACT: MARIBOR 2012, Vetrinjska ulica 30, 2000 Maribor, Slovenija, tel: +386 2 228 1256, fax: +386 2 228 1240, web:

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