Bunker is a NGO that produces contemporary performances, organizes discursive forums and educational programmes and produces an international performing arts festival Mladi Levi. Since 2004, Bunker manages a contemporary performing arts space Old Power Station in Ljubljana.
Bunker is a NGO for the realization and organization of cultural events. Bunker produces and presents contemporary theatre and dance performances, organizes different workshops and other educational programmes with a special focus on cultural and artistic education, participates in or leads numerous international projects, organizes international discursive forums and discussion evenings, and produces one of the most prominent international contemporary performing arts festivals – the Mladi Levi Festival.
Since the year 2004, Bunker programmes and manages the inspirational space of The Old Power Station in Ljubljana. The Old Power Station is a space for contemporary perfroming arts. It is buzzing with activities: several groups use it as their rehearsal venue; it is a place for different workshops, which range from cultural management to dance techniques, while in the evening, the power station is a venue for various contemporary performances and other multimedia events. The programme in the Old Power Station is a combination of international performances, presented in the frame of numerous festivals, as well as a selection of interesting Slovene contemporary artists. The red thread of all events in The Old Power Station is the desire to explore and move the boundaries of the aesthetic and the expected, as well as the desire for engagement in the local and global environment. Bunker has been devoted to producing artists dealing with the themes of the environment and climate change for many years through the international project Imagine 2020 – Art and Climate Change. And in the future years Bunker will explore these ideas through the engagement in the ACT project.
“Bunker’s engagement in ACT is all about bringing together a wider community of artist, activists and cultural workers not only to point out and reflect on social and climate injustice, but also join forces in common attempts to find new solutions to old problems.”Nevenka Koprivšek
Bunker promotes a press conference, a petition, and a media campaign to call for action. The purpose is to raise awareness to the Climate crisis and to ACT accordingly.
Youth for Climate Justice promotes this Carbon Roundup Round Table, with the purpose of debating national strategies and policies. Together, the goal is to critically examine the comprehensive National Energy and Climate Plan. Thus, looking for ways in which Slovenia can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Who are we? Are we the ones who created the environmental crisis? Are we the ones that feel it? And whose world is coming to an end? The elementary basis of this audio visual installation is a set of several technological, random and personal information about various scientific discoveries. Thus, these provide an alternative to the current methods of production in organization of life, waste, emissions, etc.
We seem to be living in a time when comedy and satire can proclaim they have been overcome by reality. It’s hard to be more ridiculous than reality, which is becoming the greatest absurdity of the absurdity itself. The improvisations we are playing to comply with the new regulations, government outbursts, our own feelings, have flooded our everyday lives and become the new normal.
Imagine an organism that feeds you, heals you, reveals secrets of the universe and could help save the planet. (Fantastic Fungi, 2019)
Keeping up with this year’s changes, the 2020 edition of the Mladi Levi International Festival was adapted. Thus, it focuses on promoting exceptional local artists. A wide diversity of artists presents their work: young Slovene artists, women artists from different disciplines. Also, guest international artists are coming from Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, among others.
Over the past months, we experienced solitude and socio political anxiety. We were searching for good interlocutors, but in the conversations through computer screens, they were limited by the strict rules of technology. Throughout the months of constant change, we are trying to think, to understand, to influence change. Also, at the same time, we are trying to understand the future. Indeed, we miss the charm of juicy conversations! We want to be able to feel and see the reactions of our interlocutors. For this reason, this year’s Mladi Levi conversations will take place outdoors, in a relaxed café atmosphere.
For city dwellers, landscaping and management of city trees are very important. However, the legal organizational framework for the integrated management of urban trees is currently weak. The need for a comprehensive and professional work with urban trees is increasing over time. Climate change and public health problems require more trees and a better management of the existing ones. The experts have been addressing such demands to decision-makers for a long time, so far without success. Lets draw attention to this issue together!
How do we introduce a festival, more than a year in the making, which this year alone suffered the loss of its founder; which was created during a seven-month closure of stages; which was almost completely severed from international stages? And yet, the upcoming festival Mladi Levi 2021 fills us with cautious joy and hope. It was envisioned on a grand scale, hoping to prove that the stage remains a relevant public space and that festivals endure as segments of time which create communities, provide space for international and local exchange, communicate with audiences – and give space, time, and attention to art.
ACT-performances in the festival:
Philippe Quesne, FARM FATALE; Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere / CAMPO, PLEASANT ISLAND; Bunker, DISCUSSION CAFÉ; Škart, NONPRACTICAL WOMEN; NEVENKA’S GROVE, memorial; ACT Summer Lab: Urban Ecologies – Trees in the City: Ljubljana; Filip Jovanovski, THIS BUILDING TALKS TRULY; Tin Grabnar, Tjaša Bertoncelj: STILL LIFE, Nine Attempts to Preserve Life
Philippe Quesne is a French artist who is a regular visitor to the Mladi Levi festival. This year, he will present himself at the Mladi Levi with Farm Fatale, which portrays the life of scarecrows in a post human world devastated by an ecological catastrophe. The scarecrows lost their jobs after the collapse of humanity and ecosystems, and are trying to inhabit the screaming void of space. But they can’t really do it. Quesne unveils before us, at a steady pace, the bare absurdity of living on the border between the past we have devastated and the responsibility to create something new, better, more sustainable.
PLEASANT ISLAND is about the fate of the small island of Nauru in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which was coined Pleasant Island by the first European explorers. The island was swept by colonization, capitalism, migration, overexploitation of natural resources and the resulting ecological catastrophe. Once an island paradise, the island became a synonym for post apocalypse – in addition to economic, humanitarian and ecological devastation, the island is threatened by rising sea levels. Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere managed to get permission to enter the island for a limited time, and are coming back with testimonies and, above all, questions. What kind of future awaits Nauru and what will be the fate of the world striving for endless growth and profit?
This year’s topic is maintenance, or care, in connection with art and culture. In an age when only innovation, improvement and progress matter, we will reflect on the potential of what is already good, what already exists, but is neglected, dilapidated, ignored … How quickly do we discard functioning systems and arrangements looking for something better and new? Wouldn’t it be easier to build on the existing, or do we have to constantly reinvent things?
Director and actress, Iveta Pole travelled to Ljubljana to participate in the ACT – art, Climate, Transition Ljubljana Summer Lab, hosted by Bunker, from August 23 to 27. The central theme as trees in urban environments. Lectures, interaction master classes with Slovenian stage artists, as well as conversations with various researchers took place. The summer school had a strong impact on the Latvian director: “The lectures and events were designed so that we could look at the tree in different ways. To be honest, I had such a realization – I have had an irreversible change in how I look at a tree in the city,” says Iveta Pole.
Lokomotiva, partner in the European project ACT: Art, Climate, Transition, invited Filip Jovanovski, a visual artist and cultural worker who works on socially engaged and interdisciplinary art projects that include working with different communities, cultures, politics and institutions – to be part of the residency in Ljubljana, at the second edition of Summer Lab Program, organized by Bunker.
Nonpractical Women combines creative writing with almost stereotypical handicrafts of the older generation, pushed to the fringes of society by the pandemic. The exhibition, prepared by the residents of Tabor retirement centre, will offer sharp verses and harsh socially critical view, embroidered and drawn on napkins. The opening event in the Tabor Park will give you the opportunity to chat with them in the shade of chestnut trees, and the exhibition will be open until the end of the festival.
This project is part of ACT’S COLLECTION EUROPE.
“You sniff the air and listen to the birds and you realize the animals and trees don’t give a damn about you.”
– Maria Lucia Cruz Correia & Benjamin Verdonck
Nevenka Koprivšek was the wind of change in our city, sometimes she was like a gentle breeze that only inspires slightly, and sometimes she was enthusiastic, rebellious and strong like a storm, pushing the boundaries, or – and this parable might even suit her best – as a hardy tree that grows steadily, adapts, and defies time. Ever since Nevenka passed away, she has remained present in all of us and in her works, her urban and artistic victories. We would now like to inscribe her in the urban space as well, dedicating a small memorial site to her, arranged in her spirit, which will brighten the days of her »locals« and passers by.
Artists from different countries (Croatia, France, the United Kingdom, Portugal, the Netherlands, as well Slovenia – represented by Ivana Vogrinc Vidali and Tery Žeželj) will be united in a temporary collective by Maria Lucia Cruz Correia, artist, activist and ecocide researcher (The Guardian of Nature) and Gosie Vervloessem, artist and researcher (The Toxic Detective).
The theme of the summer lab is urban trees, which will be explored by all participants – both in practice, with chairs on their shoulders around the city, and by means of artistic tools and theory. Artistic research and creation will draw on the concept of »archiborescence«, a term coined by architect Vincent Callebaut. Attending artists will draw a map of trees with their stories and present them to the audience.
This Building Talks Truly is a performative installation of the history of Skopje in the scale of 1:100, which received First Prize at the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. The work of Filip Jovanovski, a visual artist and activist who transforms political and social categories into artistic spatial pictures and advocates the preservation of the importance of the public and of public space, combines different forms of scenography: space, stage, exposition, memory, community and communication.
Still Life is a performance that takes its context seriously. The performance deals with human duality towards the living world, using taxidermy or stuffing – a »metaphor for the love of nature. But it can also serve as a metaphor for social ignorance and anthropocentric exploitation of nature. In the corona times, Still Life can also be seen as an exercise in peace and experiencing nature – a still life… In theatre, we live and experience together. Who then is the rabbit who gets up with the help of animators and looks at us from the stage… And who are we?
Networking as part of the ACT project is an important segment, in which partners are sharing and discussing the activities’ state of the art. This meeting was organised and hosted by Culturgest, Lisbon with participation of other project partners and representatives from: Arts Admin/London, Bunker/Ljubljana, Kaaitheater/Brussels, COAL/Paris, Domino/Zagreb, Kampnagel/Hamburg, NTIL/Riga, Theater Rotterdam/Rotterdam, and Lokomotiva /Skopje.
International festival Mladi Levi is one of the more prominent annual events of the Bunker Institute, bringing the most current stage performers from all over the world to Ljubljana every end of the summer, since 1998. It bears a mark of a demanding artistic profile, placed within the arena of contemporary progressive theatre and takes pride in its reputation for discovering young talents. The Festival has a distinctive atmosphere, marked with creativity and vibrant spirit, curious audience and social nature.
After the Collection Europe (ACT) project developed last year at the Mladi Levi 2021 festival, Škart, the pensioners from the Ljubljana Centre Retirement Home, and Bunker, gathered again for a workshop dedicated to environmental issues – endangered bird species. The working methodology still includes drinking coffee together, as well as a visit to the Ljubljana Marshes and a meeting with the experts from DOPPS – Birdlife Slovenia. A mural will be created on the wall of the Ljubljana Centre Retirement Home, which will remind us of the beauty of birds and the beauty of daily gatherings that are disappearing in time.
Raw materials around the world are becoming increasingly difficult to find; some are already running out, prompting large mining companies to turn to the depths of the sea. It is said that only about ten percent of the seabed has been explored – the potential of its discovery seems endless, and the desire for raw materials unstoppable. Four kilometres below sea level, a mining robot of the Belgian company Deme-Gsr scrapes the seabed in search of rare metals. On another ship, an international team of marine biologists closely monitors the operation. On board the third ship, the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace activists protest wildly. What are the implications of this possible future industry?
Multispecies Landscape is a two-year artistic research on alternative ways of practicing relationships with the environment and diverse bodies that are part of the ecosystems in which we operate and are being transformed. It understands the environment as the process that emerges from numerous relationships and tries to look for methods for overcoming binary oppositions such as nature and culture, dead and alive, etc. The research inspired by the concept of the holobiont as an object of thought that disables thinking through individual categories, but rather focuses on the body as a porous environment of various organisms that are enabling life.