Maribor Castle is rich in major construction achievements, such as its baroque staircase, Loretska Chapel, and the Knights’ Hall. Since 1938 the castle houses the Maribor Regional Museum.
Kino Udarnik is an old cinema hall built in 1935. In 2010 the Udarnik was re-opened after a few years hiatus, by the team of Zavod Udarnik, however, not coping with the costly rent and the meagre funding by the Municipality of Maribor the programme was cancelled in 2016
In 2018 the Kino Udarnik has been rented by another NGO, the team of SAK (Društvo za spoznavanje alternativne kulture) that had organised in Maribor a few editions of the Festival of Alternative Culture (FAK). The venue is open only at the time of events, for the beginning those will be mostly the concerts. In April Udarnik hosted Laibach, in May the Gipsy Balcan Orchestra.
Kino Udarnik was built in 1935 on the accord of a wealthy local family Guštin and was planned by the famed architect Vladimir Šubic. It was originally designed as the elite Maribor city cinema hall and was also a popular community centre, hosting even some sort of striptease evenings in the 1950s. In the late ’90s, it started programming art films, became a member of the Art Cinema Network and hosted, for example, the DokMa International Film Festival. In that same time Udarnik started to lose audiences due to the newly opened multiplex on the city outskirts and in 2008, its operations were brought to a halt.
Zavod Udarnik and their programmes 2010-2016
Run by an enthusiastic team of a small NGO, Kino Udarnik in the period 2010–2015 housed a versatile programme of art films and organised a very diverse set of cultural events. After re-opening, Kino Udarnik once again started with a quality, art cinema-oriented programme and was one of the rare venues in Slovenia that regularly presented experimental films and various new works by un-established film makers. Regular screenings were organised in collaboration with the Slovenian Cinematheque and were called “The Embassy of Cinematheque” series. These screenings were sometimes followed by a discussion or artist’s talk (for example, a conversation of the computer art pioneer Eduard Zajc with the theorist Melita Zajc) and co-organised with institutions such as SCCA-Ljubljana Centre for Contemporary Arts). Udarnik hosted the Maribor part of the Animateka International Animated Film Festival, the Stoptrik International Film Festival, the international children and youth film festival Little elephant and – together with Vetrinjski dvor – ran a summer open-air cinema series and the children’s festival Vilinsko mesto (“The Elf City”). A rich multidisciplinary programme was set up alongside, with regular music concerts and DJ nights, film education workshops and occasional lectures. Udarnik collaborates with many other NGOs from Maribor, like GT22 and the son:DA Foundation and was featured strongly in the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012 programme. It also had a small shop with various artisan products and a bar.
Not coping with the costly rent and the meagre funding by the Municipality of Maribor which eventually cancelled the programme funding in 2016, the team of Zavod Udarnik had to move out. They resumed their activities with Mobile Kino Udarnik programme, first at the nearby Vetrinjski dvor, later on in the Blackbox of the GT22 cultural centre, also located in the Maribor City Centre.
KIBLA Portal is a multifunctional exhibition and event venue for contemporary artistic practices, stationed in the city of Maribor. It presents a variety of media, from computer and intermedia arts to paintings and sculptures, and is sometimes also used for electronic music performances, conferences and the like. It operates as a dislocated premise of the KIBLA Multimedia Centre (MMC KIBLA), an institution that works at the confluences of research, culture, technology, arts, and sciences.
Though MMC KIBLA also operates the similar gallery venue KiBela Art Space, the KIBLA Portal is very special in its basic – spatial – feature. It is very big. It covers a space of about 2000 square meters and as such both enables and demands specific types of projects.
The venue is located at the premises of the Maribor textile factory MTT, which was closed in the 1990s and remained unused until its current transformation. Its vast grounds were revitalised as KIBLA Portal when Maribor was the European Capital of Culture 2012, the venue opened in November 2012 with Soft Control: Art, Science and the Technological Unconscious – an international art exhibition with a conference, workshops, and lectures.
The KIBLA Portal has displayed a very diverse set of works, ideas, and performances. Most of its exhibition projects have a distinctively international character and an interdisciplinary approach.
For example, the aforementioned Soft Control was a wide-ranging event that dealt with the discourses and contexts of technology, arts, and contemporary techno-culture. The display titled Materiality in the Portal presented its topic – the concept of materiality – through a diverse set of works that featured side by side the established canon of Slovenian and international art as well as the works of young and promising authors – and also some almost forgotten and overlooked artists. Another international exhibition dealt with World War I and was called Memory of Violence – Dreams of the Future 1914 –18.
In collaboration with the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor, a group of students were invited – together with some already established artists – to use the medium of drawing and present new works made especially for the exhibition and developed for this specific venue.
Invited artists and curators
Some of the curators involved in the KIBLA Portal have been Dmitry Bulatov, Sanja Kojić Mladenov, Petra Varl, Žiga Dobnikar, and Aleksandra Kostič. The latter is among other things also the director of KIBLA Multimedia Centre.
As the Portal’s concept and its capacities dictate for it to feature numerous works, one would be hard pressed to come up with a representative list of artists. Yet, some of the authors from abroad whose works have been featured here are Marina Abramović (RS/US), Stelarc (AU), Suzanne Dikker (NL), Matthias Oostrik (NL), Jimmy Loizeau (UK), Brandon Ballengee (US), Paul Smith (UK), David Bowen (US), Andrew Gracie (UK/ES), Kuda begut sobaki (RU), Bill Vorn (CA), Lana Čmajčanin (BiH), Boris Pramatarov (BG), Marcel Mališ (SK), Bogdan Girbovan (RO), Anca Benera (RO), Arnold Estefan (RO), Visualizing Palestine (LB), Vessna Perunovich (RS-CA), Magali Sanheira (FR), Gábor Fülöp (HU), Libuše Jarcovjáková (CZ), Max Sudhues (DE), Magda Tothova (SK), Chto Delat (RU), María Elínardóttir (IS), Oliver Pietsch (DE), and Goran Tomčić (HR/US).
Of the artists from Slovenia, a very incomplete list would include Nataša Berk, Maja Hodošček, Nika Autor, Mark Požlep, Ervin Potočnik, Borut Peterlin, Mojca Oblak, Mina Fina, Laibach, Marko Jakše, Mitja Ficko, Tadej Vindiš, Damijan Kracina, Vlado Repnik, and Matija Bobičić.
Festivals and other events at KIBLA Portal
Since 2013, the Maribor Electronic Destination International Festival (MED) takes place at Portal, as does the KIBLIX Festival. In 2013 and 2015, respectively, the KIBLIX Festival merged its efforts with the International Festival of Computer Arts (IFCA) and staged a joint festival venture.
KIBLIX has, among many others, brought here works and performances by Angelo Vermeulen, Elisabeth Schimana, William Myers, Ghislaine Boddington, Servando Barreiro, Electric Indigo, and Random Logic. Some of the musicians presented at MED have included Andy Stott, Cut Hands, Wolf Müller, and Dodecahedragraph.
Soft Control has probably been the most internationally elaborate project to date. Some of the participating institutions were Ars Electronica, Impakt (NL), MediaArtLab (RU), National Centre for Contemporary Arts – Kaliningrad Branch (RU), Prometheus (RU), Experiments in Art and Technology – E.A.T., Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto (PT), Centre for new media culture RIXC (LV), International Centre for Art and New Technologies CIANT (CZ), Hangar, Centre for research and production for the visual arts (ES), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka (HR), Dom omladine Beograd (RS), O3ONE (RS), and others. Among others, Slovenian partnerships included the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Maribor and the Scientific Research Centre (ZRC SAZU), Slovene Academy of Science and Arts.
Some other partners in Portal’s exhibitions have included the WYSPA Institute of Art (PL), VESSEL (IT), Instituto Polytechnico de Tomar (PT), The French Institute in Serbia and the Goethe-Institute in Belgrade and the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (RS).
In 1996 KIBLA Multimedia Centre (Association for Culture and Education KID KIBLA) opened as Slovenia’s first presentation and production institution in dealing with multimedia and new media art within an ongoing cultural programme. Since then KIBLA’s programme has focused on new (contemporary) educational, cultural and artistic practices, connecting education and research, culture and technology, arts and sciences. In particular, KIBLA aims to emancipate and demystify new media as a creative tool in education and new forms of art.
Part of the space of the KIBLA Multimedia Centre is occupied by KiBela Art Space, space for art where hundreds of exhibitions, performances, presentations and other artistic events have taken place since 1999, in both traditional, as well as advanced technological set-ups.
Since 2012, when Maribor was the European Capital of Culture together with partner cities, the program of visual and intermedia arts has been extended to the premises of KIBLA PORTAL, which now serves as a multi-purpose venue.
Za:misel Bookshop is online bookstore, with its foundation Maribor acquired a professional, specialized, student sociological and humanistic bookstore, which, concentrated in one place and under a professional supervision, offers the complete Slovene sociological and humanistic literary production.
ARTKIT is part of the idea of revitalizing the old city center, where artists, designers and artisans can put their creativity to use by developing traditional handicraft skills, enhanced by means of information-communication technologies.
KIBLA Multimedia Centre extensive programme includes exhibitions, performances, concerts, festivals, theatre, lectures, symposia, fairs, and workshops. Through its KiBela Art Space it collaborates with Slovene artists and institutions and also with contemporary artists and arts organisations in Graz, London, Zagreb, Belgrade, and the USA, presenting new approaches through new media as well as contemporary visual arts.
KIBLA Multimedia Centre festivals include the KIBLIX Linux IT Festival, and the acclaimed Skrite note (Hidden Music Score) Festival with the programme of avant-garde music. Since 2007 it has been organising also the (DA)(NE)S Festival of Microtonal Music, which is now being set as a concert series.
It also cooperates with numerous other organisations in Maribor, Ljubljana (Ljubljana Jazz Festival, Druga Godba Festival) and abroad. Kibla was also the initiator of the Izzven Jazz Festival, which was taken over by Narodni dom Maribor in 2011.
KIBLA is a founding member of the M3C Multimedia Centres Network of Slovenia.
KIBLA Multimedia Centre has significant experience working in international cooperation projects. The list of projects co-funded by the European Commission and its funding bodies in which the organisation has participated is perhaps among the largest for a Slovene institution.
With funding from the Culture 2000 programme in the years 2002–2003 KIBLA co-organised the annual project tx0om – Textures in bloom, which investigated interactive, intelligent and responsive environments at the crossroads of digital physics, phenomenology and biomimetics where the body becomes intermediary. It also co – organizes the multiannual project Virtual Centre Media Net.
KIBLA participated in the annual project e-Agora, which developed a virtual multimedia platform for innovative production and presentation of performing arts using the latest communication technologies.
Project activities of KIBLA have included the conference co-organised ASEUM, the 1st International New Media Art Festival in the Philippines. One of KIBLA’s significant networking European projects was X-OP – eXchange of art operators and producers, a multiannual (2008–2011) project intended to nurture a network of artists, researchers, operators, producers, and art centres with the aim to establish a European platform for creation of art and exchange.
In 2008 KIBLA Multimedia Centre was awarded a silver European Seal of e-Excellence by the European Multimedia Forum. The seal recognises ICT and digital media companies with an excellent track record in developing and marketing innovative products and services.
KGB Club (abbreviation for the Kulturno-glasbeni brlog, translated as Culture Music Lair) is a cultural institution in the old city centre of Maribor, founded in 1998, which combines the atmosphere of a nightclub, theatre for performance arts and other cultural, especially musical events. It is located in the more than 100 years old vine cellar beneath the ground, which adds to the recognisability of the club, its cosiness, almost iconicity. It is extremely popular among the local public. From the very beginning, the KGB Club organisers wanted to establish “the venue that has a soul, and not just another tavern furnished with marble and oak, ‘big bubbies’ staff and commercial music hits”. That is why they are offering a melting pot of culture, music and comedy, organizing more than 15 performances and concerts each month.
In the boutique club ambience, the programme of the Culture Music Lair consists mostly of music concerts, especially pop rock music, as well as more specialized genres, such as ethno-jazz, blues or folk; it ranges from the concerts of groups such as No More Faith, the Faith No More tribute-band, or the popular Slovene pop rock groups, such as Tabu or Orlek, to the concerts of more experimental musicians, such as singers Aphra Tesla or Klarisa Jovanović, and accordionist Marko Hatlak.
The KGB Club often performs stand-up comedies or monodramas and mono-comedies by renowned Slovene authors, such as Martina Ipša, Uroš Kuzman, Perica Jerković, Tadej Toš, Matjaž Javšnik, and others. It also organises special stand-up Open Microphone and impro theatre evenings.
The Judgement Tower is a medieval defence tower, characterized by a cylindrical shape, located on the bank of the river Drava, on the so-called Lent, in the very centre of Maribor. It is the oldest part of Maribor’s city walls, which once protected the city.
Today, the Judgement Tower is considered a cultural and historical monument, where, in the framework of the public institution Narodni dom Maribor, the cultural events are taking place, including the Lent Festival or the DOKUDOC International Documentary Film Festival.
The Judgement Tower was built in 1310. Its purpose was to fortify and protect the south-western part of the city from unwanted intruders. In the following centuries it was rebuilt several times: its look changed for the first time in 1540, when it was rebuilt into a fortress form. In the 17th century it was reshaped in Renaissance style. The present look originates from 19th century, from 1830. In 1937, the tower was partially burnt down, but in the 1950’s it was restored and given its present appearance.
Due to its shape, the Judgement Tower is also known as the Round Tower, and due to the vicinity of the Minorite Monastery also as the Monastic Tower. In the future, the revitalization of the whole old city centre is planned: the Judgment Tower is to become an international centre for the cultural and creative industries, while also serving as scenery for performing medieval stories and legends, such as a medieval marketplace or medieval trials.
Namely, the Judgement Tower was named after the judgments that were passed there. It is also connected with the times of witchcraft processes, with judgments against women who were convicted as witches. However, the death penalties were never executed there.
Today, the Judgement Tower, its cozy cafe, is a venue of cultural and social events, concerts of various genres from chansons to ethno and chamber music, multimedia performances, exhibitions, seminars. Its surface covers 132 m², the number of seats is 150.
It is one of the most beautiful, but also the most intimate cultural venue of the Summer Lent Festival, its concerts, conceptually varied, but mostly jazz, which do not address the wider public, but the music connoisseurs. It is also the main venue of the DOKUDOC International Documentary Film Festival.
In 2012, when the city of Maribor was titled the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012, Ulay – a German conceptual artist, now living in Slovenia, one of the key figures of European art performance, together with the French art collective Société Réaliste, exhibited in the Judgement Tower the installation entitled “Whose water is it”, which dealt with the dualism of European culture, that separates matter from the soul and good from the evil and, more specifically, addressed the issues of accessibility of natural resources, especially water.
In 2012, the Moment Arts and Culture Association (KUD Moment) found its domicile at the GT22 collaborative cultural centre in the Maribor city centre, at Glavni trg 22. Its founders transformed an ex-nightclub into the Intimate Stage, a theatre space for around 50 spectators.
The programme at Intimate Stage aims to bring together artists and audiences. It focuses on research-based theatre productions by KUD Moment and regularly hosts visiting performances. A regular film programme features art films, documentaries and short films. Art events are usually complemented by lectures and discussions on contemporary performing arts, new media and film. KUD Moment also runs different educational programmes.
The House of Architecture Maribor is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary Slovene and international architecture and contemporary trends in this area. It started as one of the projects of the University of Maribor’s Research and Arts Zone (RAZ:UM) for the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012 (ECoC). The heads of the project were architects and professors Dean Korošak and Uroš Lobnik.
In cooperation with other architects’ associations in Slovenia and the wider region, the House of Architecture in Maribor takes care for the presentation and promotion of contemporary architecture and offers to Maribor a space for exhibitions, conferences and presentations of contents related to contemporary architecture and space. “With the development of the study programme of architecture we found that we needed to anchor architecture even more strongly into the public environment”, said Uroš Lobnik. Throughout the years, both student projects and works of non-established and already established architects, landscape architects and spatial planners have been presented at the main exhibition place and at other locations.
The House of Architecture Maribor opened its doors with the first exhibition on the day of the opening of the ECoC in 2012 and immediately gained a large public response: only in the first year, about 30 events were visited by about 5,000 people.
In October 2016, with the renovation of the building at Krekova 2 in Maribor, where the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture, University of Maribor is located, the House of Architecture Maribor gained its permanent space.
The House of Architecture Maribor hosts a rich programme: architectural exhibitions on Slovene and international architecture, for example, Neighborhood Novo Pobrežje in Maribor which exhibited 9 project elaborates; Constructive Alps 2017 on the International Prize for Sustainable Building Renewal and Construction in the Alps; the international exhibition MoMoWo: 100 Works in 100 Years: European Women in Architecture and Design; an exhibition of the production of the Association of Architects Maribor in the period 2010–2017; etc. It organises lectures and round tables, for example, the Austrian architects who participated at the Yostar (Young Styrian Architecture) Exhibition, or various architectural bureaus or projects, such as the Piranesi Award, have been presented.
The House of Architecture also attends to professional education, for example, it organises screenings of Austrian architectural films, film portraits of various Slovene architects, such as Edvard Ravnikar (1907–1993) or Jože Plečnik (1872–1957), organises architectural excursions, various workshops, publishes various publications. Special attention is paid to the creation by students of architecture.
The Gallery K18 was opened in Maribor in 2011, taking its name after its location at Koroška Street 18. Based in the city centre, Gallery K18 is an exhibition space of Pekarna Magdalena Network. It was established as a gallery space back in 2011 under the name Pekmez with a diverse programme, but nowadays it hosts a more continuous stream of exhibitions.
As the Pekarna Magdalena Network produces GuestRoomMaribor, a programme offering artist residencies, the gallery hosts the curated presentation of projects by artists-in-residence, created during their residency, Meet the residents events, lectures, debates, etc. as well as a parallel series of exhibitions primarily focused on presentations of younger artists and curators, experiments with the boundaries of the exhibition medium and the conception and practice of the classical gallery space.
A vital player on the cultural scene in Maribor, the gallery collaborates with different cultural producers in Maribor, opens its doors for hosting exhibitions during festivals such as Festival of Photography Maribor, International Festival of Computer Arts (IFCA), Lent Festival, etc.
The multifunctional space First Stage, or Prvi oder, hosts theatre, music and literary creativity by students of the First Grammar School of Maribor (Prva gimnazija) and by visiting artists. The space has been recently renamed Prvi oder – prvi kino (First Stage – First Cinema) and converted into one of the finest old spaces for film screenings in the city.
First Stage is one of the venues for the DokMa International Film Festival.
First Stage is the rehearsal space and venue for the productions of the school’s theatre group. Students involved in the group’s activities get to work with external expert tutors, usually theatre directors and actors, and thus gain knowledge of different theatrical expressions and other elements of theatre production (set, light and costume design, etc.). The group regularly attends international festivals and workshops (recently in Great Britain, Spain, USA, India) and is also awarded for ensemble or individual excellence.
The group regularly appears at major Slovenian amateur theatre festivals, such as Transgenerations Festival of Youth Creativity, Visions Festival of Young Theatre Groups.