Circle is a theatrical essay intertwining storytelling, visual art, architecture, and sociological research. The space is thus marked by sculptural structures made of building materials, which are connected by a live narrative.
It speaks of parks, which visual artist Neja Tomšič and the interdisciplinary group of artists, architects and theorists Nonument Group understand as a field of different interests, ideas and policies. Both Nonument Group and Neja Tomšič tell about political and social ideas, movements and policies, whose changes are reflected in material reality – common public areas.
They began their initial research work in Cluj Napoca, in the abandoned Railway Workers’ Park, which found itself at the intersection of neoliberal city interests and the racist attitude towards Roma residents and the poor, crammed into a ghetto on the outskirts of the city. As a leitmotif, the park also accompanies other, personal stories of the narrators – as a legacy, a nonument, the trace of which remains in the memories of (former) users even after the change in land use.
At the same time, Circle remains a relevant work of art, as it contextualizes time and again the place where it is staged – be it the history of the Cukrarna sugar factory, the former Tranzit House synagogue in Cluj, or Ljubljana’s Old Power Station.
Premiere: August 23rd 2022, Cukrarna, as part of Mladi levi festival
- November 14th, at 10 a.m. and 7.30 p.m., Narodni dom, Celje, in the frame of Drugajanje Festival
- July 1st 2023, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria
- May 19th 2023, Sodni stolp, Maribor, in the frame of Crossings Festival
- January 13th and 14th 2023, Old Power Station
- December 3rd and 4th, Casa Tranzit, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- September 15th 2022, Old Power Station
- September 14th 2022, Old Power Station
- August 26th 2022, Cukrarna, as part of Mladi Levi Festival
- August 25th 2022, Cukrarna, as part of Mladi Levi Festival
Stories and Histories, Transforming Places (interview with Neja Tomšič by Brigitte Egger, Komplex-Kulturmagazin)
- Authors: Nonument Group (Neja Tomšič, Martin Bricelj Baraga, Nika Grabar, Miloš Kosec)
- Script: Neja Tomšič
- Performing: Neja Tomšič, Nika Grabar, Miloš Kosec
- Sculptures: Martin Bricelj Baraga
- Sound design: Simina Oprescu
- Recordings: Neja Tomšič and Martin Bricelj Baraga
- Cluj Assistant researchers: Istvan Szakats,Flaviu Petean
- Documentary off-voice: Flaviu Petean
- Help with research in Alexandria: Mohamed Adel Dessouki, Sarah Baghat
- Statements: Viorica Zsiga, Adrian Dohotaru,Vlad Rusu, Istvan Szakats
- Voice of Viorica: Jadranka Gnezda
- Sound technician: Luka Seliškar
- Light design: Martin Lovšin
- Kostumografija: Dajana Ljubičič
- Technical director: Igor Remeta
- Technical coordinator: Martin Lovšin
- Technical crew: Luka Bernetič, Andrej Petrovčič, Duško Pušica, Manca Vukelič, Vid Starman
- Producers: Alma R. Selimović, Klara Drnovšek Solina, Ajda Koloini
- Thanks to: Barbara Poček, Barbara Tomšič, Maks Bricelj
- Public relations: Tamara Bračič Vidmar
- Produced by: Bunker, Ljubljana
- Co-produced by: Centrul Cultural Clujean, L’Arboreto – Teatro Dimora di Mondaino, MoTA – Museum of Transitory Art
The production was created in the frame of the international project Srtonger Peripheries: A Southern Coalition.
Supported by: European Union – Creative Europe Programme: Culture, Stronger Peripheries: A Southern Coalition, Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, City Municipality of Ljubljana, Cukrarna / Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Photo by: Nada Žgank
Neja Tomšič (1982) is a visual artist, poet, and writer whose interdisciplinary practice merges drawing, photography, poetry and performance. By uncovering overlooked and often hidden stories from history, her passion is to rethink dominant historical narratives, researching into particularities, and creating situations where new understandings of the present can be formed. She approaches histories as maps of starting points and links. Performative elements in her projects explore possible projections of history into the subjective present of individual visitors.
Her project Tea for Five: Opium Clippers, a performative essay in the form of a Chinese tea ceremony, has toured 11 countries and was performed more than 55 times. Her artist book Opium Clippers was awarded Best Slovenian artist book in 2017/2018 and Best book design in the category Book as Object at the Slovenian Book Fair.
She is a member a Nonument Group, an art collective that maps, archives and intervenes in forgotten, abandoned or demolished 20th century monuments, public spaces and buildings, that have undergone a change in meaning.
Neja also works as a curator and producer and is a co-founder of MoTA (Museum of Transitory Art), a Ljubljana-based research and production platform devoted to transitory art. She lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.