THE EUROPEAN Capital of Culture (ECOC) is a title awarded each year to two European cities. This year Košice and Marseilles have the honour of hosting the event. Košice secured its ECOC 2013 title in September 2008, representing the ‘new’ EU member countries, while Marseilles represents the established EU member states (the EU15). At the end of May, Košice representatives offered a taste of Slovak culture to their French counterparts.
The Days of Slovak Culture in Marseilles opened on May 14 and presented many Slovak artists to the French city. “During the following days, many Slovak artists will introduce themselves here – not only from Košice, but also from Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, and Martin: musicians, film-makers, photographers and visual artists,” Košice Mayor Richard Raši said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. It is crucial that we perceive 2013 as the beginning of a new era, as a long-term project and not a product lasting just one year,” he added.
Marseilles’ Mayor Daniel Herrmann pointed out that both cities have a lot in common – they serve as entrances to Europe, be it from the Mediterranean and Africa, or from the east into the Schengen zone. Raši stressed that both cities are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-national. He also praised the ECOC event for boosting tourism in both cities and bringing a new impetus for local culture and activism. Both mayors also exchanged their differing experiences with financing the project and using resources.
The first Slovak events in Marseilles were a presentation of Slovak gastronomic delicacies and a jazz concert. The art director for the ECOC Košice 2013, Vladimír Beskid, praised the French event as one of the first results of the cooperation of both cities. Slovak Ambassador to France Marek Eštok appreciated the fact that the project has fostered the mutual enrichment of both cultural capitals, and is making Košice – and Slovakia – better known. “If not for the ECOC, the region of Provence would know little about Košice,” Eštok summed up. He added, however, that the promotion of Slovakia would continue in the future, and in other French regions too.
The Days of Slovak Culture lasted for a week and in return, French artists participated in the Use the City festival in Košice, starting on May 23. Olivier Grossetete was the first artist to participate in the event, building a Marseilles lighthouse from cardboard. The Košice-based Na Peróne theatre showed the results of a joint five-year project called Step by Step with the Lyons troupe La Hors De, in addition to other events.
10. Jun 2013 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff