Ljubljana's City of Women

Photo: www.cityofwomen.org

In Slovenia, artists from 13 countries have their work on display in the capital Ljubljana for the 12th City of Women international festival of contemporary arts. The festival runs until the 10th of October. Ksenija Samardzija Matul has the details:

Although the name of the festival may suggest otherwise, City of Women does not feature women artists alone as one of the organizers of the festival Miljana Babic explains:

"The city of women means that it promotes women in art, so that the authors or directors are female but for example members of the group or participants can be both sexes. So it deals with themes that somehow relate to women's position in society but definitely it attracts all different audiences."

Over the years the City of Women Festival has developed a range of specific characteristics that distinguish it from other events in Slovenia and Europe. It has a rather experimental profile, introducing artists who experiment with or cross the boundaries of genres. Miljana Babic; one of the organizers explains how this festival differs from other festivals:

"Well what is basically different about this festival is that it works with an annual theme. For each year we have a specific theme - we kind o f choose artists according to this specific theme, for example this year the topic is 'history and memory'. Another thing that is different about this festival is that it is a trans-disciplinary festival which means that it does not work within a specific artistic field but it covers music, visual art, performance, theatre, literature and theory etc. Then another specific of the festival would be that it tries to accommodate the events across the city."

The Festival fosters dialogue between the attending artists and the audience. Apart from performances and exhibitions, the festival also features round-table debates, lectures and workshops, focusing on themes dealing with key problems of modern women. One of the participating artists this year is Bonfire Madigan from the United States, who has performed with the Slovenian band Laibach and she explains her encounter with Slovenia:

"Through Laibach I fell in love with this country and cities and of course I wanted to return and I have been involved in some of these art festivals for so long and the 'city of women' seemed to be continuing that tradition."

Her music is not mainstream but she is part of the underground scene in her country and at the festival she presents her new song writing, Bonfire Madigan:

"Well I think the audience is gonna be in for a big treat. I have been preparing a performance that evolves around my new song writing, my new song forms for cello and voice as well as live looping on the cello and some peppering of minimalist electronic effects and I love to perform and I am very excited to bring this."

This year's topic being History and Memory, a special tribute will be paid to Hannah Arendt the German political theorist of Jewish origin whose work was marked and motivated by the terror of the holocaust, which she escaped by migrating first to France and then to the United States.