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Prelaunch Days EKO 8
16–26 September 2020

International Triennial of Art and Environment EKO 8
May-September 2021

Former MTT factory, Maribor/Melje, Slovenia

During Prelaunch Days at the former MTT factory in Melje, Maribor UGM | Maribor Art Gallery will be announcing the relaunch of the International Triennial of Art and Environment. EKO 8 will open in the spring of 2021. EKO will be dedicated to contemporary art and environment, investigating the intersection of urgent social-economic issues of today, politics of ecology, and postcolonial globalisation. In tune with a growing awareness that the health of the environment is dependent on a set of interrelated systems, including ecology, politics, technology, social practices, business etc., the triennial is linking natural and social ecosystems, and blurring boundaries – nature/culture, individual/community, national/international, global/local. Prelaunch Days EKO 8 will kick off the lively and diverse happening with projects from international and local artists, roundtables, tours, festival events and inclusion of local actors and institutions and music events awaiting at a fascinating MTT location on the bank of river Drava next year.

EKO triennial was established in 1980 in Maribor, then Yugoslavia. It saw 7 editions and it presented over 300 artists from around the globe; it was curated by international curators, and tackled topics from the environmental concerns of the day to a deeper engagement with ecological and social issues. After a decade-and-a-half long break, the new edition is here to set new grounds and new rules for this event, transforming it into an off-gallery project, with city-centred and community involved programme. This one, at its core, represents in the commentary a myriad of changes, both global and local, that affect the environment in which we live and on which we depend.

Art director of EKO 8 is Alessandro Vincentelli, British curator of exhibitions and research at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead/Newcastle, known as a polemical and engaged researcher of the contemporary art scene. He gave the 8th edition of the triennial the title A Letter to the Future, drawing thematically from a memorial plaque by the people of Iceland marking a specific moment in time and the loss of the Okjökull glacier in Borgarfjörður. The words read, “Okjökull is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” EKO 8 is conceived as a barometer of change. It presents ecologically aware films from the 1960s, as well as artworks, environments and sound installations raising awareness of species extinction, human ecosystem fragility and the necessity of species co-existence. With the precarity and uncertainty created by a global pandemic, there is a new and heightened sense of urgency to read the signals and to learn from history. Presented in this project are the collected visions and propositions by more than 30 international and Slovenian artists – all alert to the central question being posed by A Letter to the Future.

Curator Alessandro Vincentelli: “The exhibition A Letter to the Future as a part of EKO 8 as a whole, is a plea to think outside the present. To bring together works that span generations and share knowledge. The plaque to the loss of a glacier created by Andri Snær Magnason serves to throw us forward into the future and remind us of our shared past. Can an assembly of artist voices, visions and artworks, in a place that once produced textiles using the local labour of thousands of people, also share these profound ecological questions? These are observations that arise from an extended community committed to a better understanding for what brings us together and what unites us.”

Prelaunch Days EKO 8 Programme

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Press conference / Announcing EKO 8 with curator Alessandro Vincentelli
Announcing EKO 8 / with art projects by Kara Chin, Janja Kosi, Mako Sajko, ScanLAB Projects, Chris Watson
Round table / The History of Ecology and Art in Slovenia with Meta Gabršek Prosenc, Mako Sajko and Polonca Lovšin; moderated by Jure Kirbiš (part of the project Art & Well-being)

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Online exhibition opening / To See Our Common/Place + artist talk with artists Gustavo Balbela, Johanna Karjalainen, Indrė Urbonaitė, Domonkos Varga, Shelli Weiler and curator Eszter Erdősi; moderated by Alessandro Vincentelli (part of the PARALLEL – European Photo Based Platform)
Tour / Alessandro Vincentelli, curator of EKO 8 will present the art projects by Kara Chin, Janja Kosi, Mako Sajko, ScanLAB Projects, Chris Watson
Conference Art & the City / Chapter I: Developing the City / with guests Gregor Reichenberg, Rok Žnidaršič, Alenka Gregorič, Idis Turato, Gašper Medvešek and Pavlina Japelj; moderated by Simona Vidmar (in collaboration with the Centre for Creativity)

Friday, 18 September 2020

Tour: Textile Giant on the River Drava/ Uroš Dokl, National Liberation Museum Maribor
Lecture: Hutter's Outstanding Achievements/ Jerneja Ferlež
Bicycle tour: Melje in the First Half of the 20th Century: Buildings and Their Stories / Boris Hajdinjak, Maribor Synagogue
Lecture: Maribor Textile Collection / Maja Hren Brvar, Maribor Regional Museum
Lecture: Ecosystem Restoration of the Drava River/ dr. Damijan Denac in collaboration with the Maribor Diving Association
Project opening: A Mile in My Shoes / Empathy Museum (part of the project Art & Well-being)
Concert: Mlake
Prelaunching with music and bubbles

16.–26. September 2020

Announcing EKO 8 / with art projects by Kara Chin, Janja Kosi, Mako Sajko, ScanLAB Projects, Chris Watson

The programme will take place in Slovene and English. We reserve the right to modify the contents of the programme.

Access to the venue: entrance to the MTT factory from Ulica heroja Šaranoviča via Meljska cesta at the bus stop Melje – obračališče, lines 1, 2, 6, 7
Download EKO 8 venue location map.
46°33'28.3"N 15°40'00.5"E

Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia; Municipality of Maribor; European Union, European Regional Development Fund; European Union, Creative Europe

Partners: Centre for Creativity; Parallel – European Photo Based Platform; Art & Well-being; RUK – Network of Centres for Research Arts and Culture; Kibla; Kibla2Lab; Regional Archives Maribor; Maribor Regional Museum; National Liberation Museum Maribor; Empathy Museum; Maribor Diving Association; Maribor Synagogue

Sponsored by: Dravske elektrarne Maribor; Energetika Maribor; Radgonske gorice