2017-07-07 16:33 — Maribor
As I write, a huge powerful storm is lightening Maribor. The sound of the drops and the darkness of the sky make the right atmosphere to write a couple of lines about this third week in Slovenia. This week has not been as crazy and packed with events as last one, but it has none the less been extremely interesting and busy. On Monday I went to visit a book and music editor here in Maribor, he used to be a punk in his younger years and now keeps supporting punk music and alternative thinkers. He gave me a book entitled “Against Philosophy” by a young writer from Maribor, Jure Aleksejev, and I promised him I will read at least the beginning … This week I have been receiving books and poetry from different people in different languages, and I will have to find a personal translator to translate all those lines in foreign yet interesting languages and dialects.
During the festival I met some people from all around the world who were here with a program called the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS) known for its seminars with the world's leading philosophers, journalists, artists, academics, and public figures. This week they were meeting here in Maribor for a conference and I had the fortune to attend some of their events. On Wednesday and Thursday morning I went to some lectures on Derrida and in the afternoon to some psychoanalysis seminars on ‘the attachment theory’ by Bowlby. I got also the chance to talk about translation, minority languages, the Basque country, to sit on a wonderful poetry reading by the American poet Margaret Helen Young, meet fantastic people and watch a documentary on the Maribor protests of 2012.
Cultural options keep showing up in this tiny city, and this week I’ve been lucky to also meet the Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, who has an incredible solo exhibition at Kibla portal curated by my dear host Peter Tomaž Dobrila. The space in which the exhibition takes place is a converted big industrial building, with high ceilings, columns and plenty of space for the sculptures, videos and other installations to breath. Her sculptures look hybrids, a strange feeling surrounds them, they look familiar but yet something is off … they make you feel strangely uncanny. Her sculptures are creatures who look at the world that is around us, at the link between the natural and the artificial, at evolution, biotechnology and genetic engineering. Her work and her research looks at how gene therapy and the on-going research with the aim of mapping the human genome could be shaping our reality, our bodies and the world we know.
This morning I led my first craft workshop for refugee women here in Maribor with the non-profit organization Filantropija, which helps and supports refugees with their Slovenian lessons, bureaucracy, day-to-day issues and childcare. Today not many women showed up to the session, and we made paper beads and earrings. I hope the word of mouth spreads and more people come next week. On Monday I will also volunteer there taking care of the children while the parents do their paper work and attend the compulsory language lessons. And this afternoon in less than a couple of hours I have a ‘solo’ poetry reading at Literarna Hisa. I will read some of my poems from previous books and the ones that I have been writing here. I have self translated myself to English, so I will be reading both in Basque and English for understanding. I have enjoyed this process of self-translating, but I will talk about it in another blog post. Now I need a shower and a good cup of tea!