The day-long programme “Secrets of Lujzijana”, which was created as part of the European Capital of Culture 27 Neighbourhoods flagship and the Centriphery project, which is co-funded by the EU’s Creative Europe programme, was held on Sunday, 14 June.
The artistic programme “Secrets of Lujzijana” tells the story of several significant segments of life in Delnice. The historical – through which Delnice inherits their wealth and testifies to the inception of this important route, the present – in which Delnice is omitted from the maps of important transit routes, without the possibility of achieving economic development and significance, and the future – which views culture as an asset and a new way to contemplate the circumstances of life.
The aim of this initiative was to draw attention to each of the aforementioned segments and to the mutual relationship between the community, the economy, culture and art. This is why the programme in Delnice consists of three main parts, which are the product of collaborations with numerous Croatian and international artists. They are as follows: “Cartography of the Wilderness”, “Stories from Delnice” and the “I-Lujzijana Magic Show”. The visitors also had the chance to socialise with the artists and see the visiting multimedia exhibition Transformation Incubator at the Neighbourhood Living Room.
Transformation Incubator – touring multimedia exhibition
Transformation Incubator is a touring exhibition held as part of the Centriphery project. All the artists involved in the project were tasked with preparing a box that presents the artwork they made for the project. The boxes are interactive and were made in a way that allows visitors to leaf through, hold and study the content of the boxes in order to experience other locations. The exhibition is transferred to and complemented in every country participating in the project, including two locations in Croatia – Delnice and Mrkopalj. So far, it has been held in Austria and the Netherlands and, after Croatia, it will continue to Denmark. The following boxes are on display: “Bike Ratchet Tour” – Festival der Regionen (Perg, Austria) – artists: Conny Zenk (Austria), Cornelia Scheuer (Austria), Gustavo Ciríaco (Portugal) and Kalin Serapionov (Bulgaria), as well as “Museum of Stillness” – Festival Cultura Nova (Heerlen, Netherlands) – the art collective Hoge Fronten / Lieke Benders (NL), in cooperation with Toneelgroep Maastricht / Bart Bijnens (NL), EricMinh Coung Castaing (FR) and Livia Coloji (Romania).
The Delnice box will present artwork created by the Finnish artists Anne-Marie Karvonen and Tatu Nenonen, as well as Matija Kezele from Delnice.
Art installations and audio stories at Malenca cave and the Bakarčev waterfall
The artists who prepared the Delnice box as part of the Delnice Neighbourhood project also participated in a sort of discovery and tourist evaluation of the natural beauty in Gorski Kotar. More specifically, the Malenca cave in Crni Lug and the Bakarčev waterfall in Delnice, where two projects were carried out.
“Cartography of Wilderness” by the artists Damjan Kovač and Marko Burić revealed the vistas of the forests in Gorski Kotar and the hidden natural beauty. Art installations in the wilderness, made from natural materials, symbolise the hidden places that are perfect for getting in touch with nature and allow visitors to spend time in the unspoiled countryside of Gorski Kotar. Non-invasive interventions in the wilderness have enabled the discovery of secret locations along the Lujzijana by emphasising the natural beauty and its potential within the context of a modern lifestyle.
Anna-Mari Karvonen, Tatu Nenonen and Matija Kezele explored the myths and legends of the Delnice region, which are the starting point of their artwork, and collected them in “Stories from Delnice“, which each visitor to the “Cartography of Wilderness” site could experience by listening to a multimedia audio recording with a QR code at the outdoor locations.
While the “Cartography of Wilderness” art installations will remain a permanent natural exhibition, the “Stories from Delnice” will be available for listening until 14 September 2020. Visitors can take individual tours of the sites, which are located at the following coordinates: Bakarac waterfall (45°24’33.9”N 14°48’56.2”E) and Malenica cave (45°25’12.0”N 14°41’46.2”E).
Opening ceremony of the Delnice Neighbourhood with the “I-Lujzijana magic Show”
The highlight of the day was the opening ceremony of the Delnice Neighbourhood programme and the evening premiere of the I-Lujzijana Magic Show at the Workers’ Hall.
The I-Lujzijana Magic Show, which is directed and choreographed by Branko Žak Valenta, is a comedy show, a hybrid of a competitive TV talent show of sorts, stand-up comedy and burlesque, during which the audience is presented with utopian visions of Gorski Kotar as a world-renowned ecotourism reservation that “should open any day now”.
Due to the Covid-19 safety measures, the Delnice Neighbourhood team had to postpone the trip to their European Neighbourhood in Slovakia. However, the European neighbours from Košice, the 2013 European Capital of Culture, have already been contacted and communication has been initiated in the hope of organising mutual visits and the presentation of the authentic Slovakian village of Vikolinec, which is protected by UNESCO because of its unique cohabitation with the forest, as well as traditional carpentry and other wood-related crafts.
The Centriphery project in European Capital of Culture neighbourhoods
The Delnice and Mrkopalj neighbourhoods are part of CENTRIPHERY, an interdisciplinary European project aimed at fostering dialogue among international arts professionals in a variety of art disciplines, local artists and members of local communities by using the aforementioned processes to create new content and artwork, which shift peripheral European locations to the centre of artistic activity. There are nine institutions and festivals from all over Europe participating in the project (2019 – 2022) and they will transform the selected locations, places and cities, including Delnice and Mrkopalj, into creative centres and produce new artistic content, thereby directly contributing to the growth and development of the local community. The starting point for artistic exploration is the intangible cultural heritage comprising local myths and stories and their significance to the identity of the region. In addition to fostering heritage, the potential for developing a contemporary regional and European story that will yield “future myths” of the region and Europe is also being created. The cooperation between and connecting of citizens and artists from various parts of Europe will improve intercultural dialogue and promote mutual understanding and the respect of different European cultures, as well as European values.
Centriphery is spearheaded by the Festival of Regions (Austria), in cooperation with 8 European partners: New Culture Foundation (Bulgaria), Dansehallerne (Denmark), Espoo City Theater (Finland), La Manufacture Collectif Contemporain (France), Rijeka 2020 (Croatia), Cultura Nova Festival (Netherlands), Walk & Talk (Azores, Portugal) and Prin Banat (Romania).