You are a trained manager in the area of culture and apart from in the Czech Republic, you gained work experience in the Netherlands. What brought you to Košice?
I worked in several cultural institutions in Prague and during my Masters studies in the Netherlands I started to work in the office for cultural innovation. It was a company focusing upon establishing cultural strategy for various museums, concert halls or musical ensembles and I gained a lot from it. After a year, I decided to return home but I succeeded in applying and getting my job in Košice. I submitted my application to work for Košice – European Capital of Culture 2013 during my stay in the Netherlands because I was attracted by the possibility to participate in such a large project with the chance to start and change something.
What can you give to the project and what do you expect from it?
For me, just the precise time limitation of the Košice 2013 project was a big challenge. It gives me the opportunity to try to start something, change it and manage it within a given time. In Holland, I learned that in the area of culture, it is currently necessary to give the public new inspiration and bring some enthusiasm into society. It seems that people nowadays are trapped in an everyday routine and even traditional culture is becoming routine to them. Our ambition is to show new directions, introduce new ideas, and to spark and stir discussions on various themes. I think that just the fact that people will become inspired and stop being afraid of the new will be a success.
What role may the residencies of foreign artists in Košice play in this?
The fact that artists from foreign environments come here benefits not only them but also the entire local community. They become inspired and the locals may see something completely new. The specifics of our project are that foreign artists don’t come with the primary task of creating a piece of work, leave it here then go away. This would be too simple. They also come here to bring something from the spiritual richness of their own country. This is why they’ll spend three months here and not just a week. To become familiar with our people, to talk to them and to somehow become part of our local community.
In your opinion, is the convergence and crossing of cultures a benefit or the opposite, it leads to monotony and uniformity?
In my opinion, it’s a natural process and is necessary. With the development of new technology and the fact that people can travel from one end of the world to the other also means that they come together more. It’s therefore necessary to develop something like a ‘common’ language, thanks to which they can understand each other. This could be art and culture, for example. The world is joining politically and economically but it often forgets basic cultural unity, where people understand each other in the most basic things, where they meet and talk about life, the family and friends, or their habits or food. This is also culture. I think that this is as important for the future of humankind as a common currency or laws. I don’t think it leads to uniformity. Just the opposite, cooperation in culture and good relationships lead to the creation of an original view of things and it supports creativity.
People often ask why we cooperate with Moldova and Ukraine, and wouldn’t we rather send our artists to Paris, London or New York?
We think that just cooperating with these countries is important. It’s also because of the geographical location of Košice and the fact that the city only recently became a city close to a Schengen border, which somehow also creates a new border in peoples’ thinking and cooperation between countries. It is important for us to be aware of the historical context and that we also have neighbours to the East of us. Most of the time we know almost nothing about them and that’s a pity. These countries are sometimes underestimated but there are interesting people and excellent artists living there, and outstanding projects are implemented there. Perhaps it’s up to us to be a bridge between East and West. The fact that in Košice, a Moldovan artist can work together with a German resident and the fact that we can introduce their projects to local inhabitants I think is a great success.
What would you like to achieve in Košice?
Our aim is to enliven the cultural-artistic scene. By bringing certain inspiration and enlivenment at professional level to Košice, or by sending local artists to countries where they would probably never travel. Apart from Germany, I actually mean Moldova and Ukraine. However, we also want to show ordinary people who are perhaps not so interested in arts that interesting things are made in Moldova and it’s quite okay to encounter artists from Ukraine here. That such meetings may somehow be inspirational and not only at an artistic level. I believe that just ordinary human contact, discussions about life and habits in other countries may enrich and contribute to a better understanding between people.
Adéla Foldynová M.A., (1986) was born in Český Krumlov. She studied Humanities in Prague and in Maastricht, Netherlands, she continued study in the specialism of Art and Heritage, Cultural Policy, Management and Education. She joined the non-profit making organisation, Košice 2013 in May 2012.