At the Moderna galerija, we have asked ourselves what it is that constituencies actually constitute. Seeing that we work within a very small community – Ljubljana only has a population of 300,000 – it is virtually impossible to think about the institution other than in relation to other agents in the community... We think about our community in terms of a biotope of sorts, in which every species, every agent, regardless of their status, is important for the survival of the community. For this reason, it is important to think about the institution both as just one of many constituencies, and as a space co-created by others. Zdenka Badovinac, at the “Constituencies” GCK seminar, Liverpool John Moores University, 2016.
One of the consequences of the drastic political and social changes in Slovenia which started in 2020 was an aggressive turn to national mono-culture, conservativism and populism, resulting in removing critical voices from institutions and in politically motivated appointments of the directors in those institutions. This has been, in short, a time of attempted “silencing,” with the systematic destruction of democracy and the rule of law, attacks on the media as well as the dissolution of the welfare state - all of which has deeply affected the entire cultural habitat. The biotope of which Zdenka spoke so enthusiastically not so many years ago has been destroyed and the conditions for its species/constituencies to live, flourish and form an assemblage with other species/constituencies have been altered.
At the 2016 Liverpool seminar, the introduction read: Constituencies are always in flux, depending on their existence upon their relationships with one another. As such, constituencies are never givens – but always something to be struggled over and negotiated. But is this kind of reasoning sustainable? What about the responsibility for other species of a biotope/community when one species finds itself in a difficult situation? How to regenerate a damaged biotope/community and also - with whom? Some of these dilemmas - also observed in light of the current situation in Moderna galerija - will be posed as open questions at the seminar in Eindhoven.