In 2014, the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (internationally abbreviated as KSEVT), which was constructed and officially opened in 2012, funded by the EU and partly by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Vitanje, was transformed from a Private Institute into a Public Municipal Institute, as suggested by the Ministry of Culture.
This change in status was to allow Ksevt to apply for public funding, as an institution of national cultural significance, which cannot be funded solely by the Municipality due to the great scope of its activities. In 2014, the Ministry of Culture indeed signed a contract for 110.000 EUR with the Municipality of Vitanje. KSEVT was to use part of this funding (30,000 EUR) to finance a public celebration of the 10th anniversary of Slovenia's accession to the EU, and the rest to carry out its programme (research activities, exhibitions, performances, etc.). At the end of the year, KSEVT submitted a report on how the funding was spent, including all of the necessary accounting documentation requested by the Ministry. However, the Ministry then called for ever more supplementary accounting documents, purporting post festum that expenses amounting to 45.874,01 EUR for items such as rent and salaries of the four employees were »unjustified«. It showed no understanding of the contents of the work done by KSEVT, its national and global significance, or even any will to understand which expenses are »justified« with regard to activities listed in KSEVT's mission statement. The relentless stance of the Ministry of Culture left Miha Turšič, now already a former director of KSEVT, with no choice but to resort to a hunger strike as a a radical act of protest.
THE THREE CLAIMS OF MIHA TURŠIČ:
"1/ I demand the resignation of the Director-General of the Creativity Directorate from all her positions and workplaces at the Ministry of Culture, and for her to be transferred to a public service where understanding art is not part of the job description.
2/ I demand that the municipal public institute KSEVT be reformed into a functional national institution.
3/ I demand that the share of financial means for culture in the national budget of The Republic of Slovenia be raised to 2%."
ALL THE UPDATES ON THE STRIKE AND (INTER)NATIONAL RESPONSES:
jaccusesite.wordpress.com (in SLO and ENG)
PHOTOS FROM THE LAST PRESS CONFERENCE IN THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (photos kindly sent by Sunčan Stone (C)):