The Kaleidoscope of Culture, the best European trend brand in the field of culture, will experience its fifth and, so far, most significant edition from 1 September to 7 October in Novi Sad, and will host numerous talented artists who will present themselves to the audience of the European Capital of Culture. The opening of the Kaleidoscope of Culture will last the first four days of September and will represent a true kaleidoscope in miniature, a prelude to five weeks of art that will promote a culture of togetherness.
The space of the renewed District, one of the most important infrastructure projects on the former Great Liman, is the new city centre of culture and art, and now it will shine with the special shine of spotlight #5 of the Kaleidoscope of Culture. Around 400 artists from almost 40 countries will present themselves at the opening, the largest exhibition of artistic production in this part of Europe. We spoke with the team that compiles this programme mosaic about the scale of this production-demanding project, as well as the events that really make it worth going to Novi Sad. Meet the Kaleidoscope of Culture project manager Dušan Vuković and programme coordinators Jelena Stanković and Stanislav Drča, who together with the great ECoC team are working hard to realise this important event which will remain a permanent legacy to Novi Sad, the city of culture, even after the year of the ECoC title.
What is the significance and value of the Kaleidoscope of Culture for Novi Sad, but also the affirmation and interconnection of young artists who will present themselves during the five weeks of this programme arch which will now reach its 5th anniversary in the year of the ECoC title?
Jelena: The importance of the Kaleidoscope of culture is reflected precisely in its diversity, which, through the connection of five types of art, very successfully manages to connect artists from the fields of visual, applied, and performing arts, but also from the fields of architecture and literature. One such fusion of events offers the citizens of Novi Sad something to see, visit and learn every day, and expand their knowledge.
Dušan: Connecting artists, non-governmental organisations, and cultural institutions is one of the key values of the Kaleidoscope of Culture. Creating such an atmosphere was not easy; moreover, it was challenging, but above all, important for raising the quality of the production of the events themselves and creating new opportunities for the art scene. And then, after five years, you realise that the message we were guided by from the first day – the culture of togetherness – has a deeper meaning and significance.
Stanislav: The value of this kind of manifestation is precisely in the networking of young authors and creative people, raising their capacities through various programmes and open calls, but also providing a springboard. Kaleidoscope always came out of the local framework, bringing together authors from Triglav to the Vardar, artists from all over Europe, the easternmost parts of Asia, and the westernmost cities of the North American continent.
How much has the Novi Sad cultural scene changed and developed further with the programmes of the European Capital of Culture, now also through the Kaleidoscope of Culture, the best European trend brand in the field of culture?
Dušan: The award belongs to all organisations, cultural institutions, individuals, and partners, but also to the people of Novi Sad who believed that change is possible, that togetherness is the foundation and basis of progress, and that only together with a clear goal can we get out of the existing framework.
When it comes to the cultural scene of the city, there is no doubt that the change is obvious. After more than 30 years, the Serbian National Theatre in co-production with the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation organised the opera Rigoletto, which was performed in the District, in front of the Czech Warehouse. We organised the first outdoor classical music event KORZO with the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra in 2018, and it’s safe to say that it became a tradition. And this year, on 10 September, we are expecting a memorable spectacle led by Julian Rachlin, an artist who has collaborated with world stars such as John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu, Roger Moore, and many others. The change is also evident when it comes to access to literary events. In the Petrovaradin Fortress Suburbium, we are creating a unique literary event that won the hearts of the people of Novi Sad last year and is continuously developing. The Week of Visual Art confirms again that we can create a unique experience with the culture of the community, so all visitors will be able to see the most important works of Sava Šumanović for the first time. It should also be noted that through the week of applied art, we managed to put a cult place like SPENS on the cultural map, not only of the city but also beyond, which is especially important considering the importance of this object for Novi Sad and the people of Novi Sad.
Of course, we must not leave out the biggest infrastructure project. The District got its new life precisely through the European Capital of Culture.
What are the biggest production challenges in preparing such an extensive and important programme for the city’s cultural scene?
Jelena: Production challenges are really big, but when you have a serious team around you, everything is possible and feasible. As in the previous ECoC programme arches, a team of young and experienced people who consider the good and successful organisation of work to be the most important thing in the realisation of the programme collaborates in the organisation of the #5 Kaleidoscope of Culture. The biggest production challenge, looking from my point of view, is to make sure that after visiting a programme, the audience leaves the event satisfied and with the desire to visit another programme in the #5 Kaleidoscope of Culture.
Dušan: Adapting to the space, emphasising what is important and encouraging its development, is the basis of our production activity. When we started planning the first Kaleidoscope of Culture, one
of the key tasks was that by going outside the institutions of culture, we do not want to conquer and damage these spaces, but to highlight their beauty, value, and importance. And I really think we succeeded in that. As part of the Kaleidoscope of Culture project, we organised cultural programmes in the largest industrial complex in the city – the District, which after 100 years has become an area of cultural and creative industry, and we realised and are realising all of this in a place that is still a construction zone, which in production- logistically, it creates great challenges. Another important example for us is the Petrovaradin Fortress Suburbium, which was revitalised after 300 years as part of the European Capital of Culture project.
Which Kaleidoscope programmes would you single out as ones that the audience should not miss?
Stanislav: Kaleidoscope as a one-month festival is a kind of experience in itself, and the audience can best feel what is to come, precisely for the opening of the Kaleidoscope of Culture in the District. Showcase 1, 2, and 3 featuring young bands is a real opportunity for everyone to get to know the freshest young authors and creators of the region’s underground music scene. The Bits and Bytes exhibition in the District, presented by Galerija 12 from Belgrade, is a transmedia work that ranks among world exhibitions in the domain of new art media and contemporary artistic practices. The entire Kaleidoscope is permeated with exhibitions, concerts, performances, workshops, plays, and other forms of artistic expression organised by young authors up to the age of 35 from all over Serbia, who are winners of the open call Artists.Sad! Novi Sad ECoC 2022 is announcing for the third year in a row. I could go on and on, but that’s why I invite everyone to come and experience the Kaleidoscope of Culture.
Jelena: If we consider that more than 250 events will be realised within the #5 Kaleidoscope of Culture, it is difficult to single out the best. Nevertheless, I would recommend the audience not to miss the opening of the Kaleidoscope of Culture in the District, which awaits us from 1 to 4 September, as well as the play Miss Julie, Korzo and the exhibition ‘Sava Šumanović and the European Realism Between the Two World Wars’ which will be organised in the Gallery of Matica Srpska and in the ‘Sava Šumanović’ Painting Gallery in Šid, and also will include a programme-related exhibition setting in the Gallery of Fine Arts – Gift Collection of Rajko Mamuzić.
Dušan: Another specific feature of the Kaleidoscope of Culture is that everyone can find a programme for themselves. The evaluation, which we have been doing for the fourth year, helps us understand the needs of visitors and understand in which direction we should build the Kaleidoscope of Culture, and this is where we return to the beginning, to the message we sincerely believe in, which is the culture of togetherness.
Kaleidoscope culture partners are Erste banka, IDEA, DDOR osiguranje, A1 Srbija i Heineken Srbija.
Author: Marina Marić
Photo: Vladimir Veličković