Using former Lenin museum into a community space

EVENTS can be made for people, to commemorate an event, or sometimes to celebrate a thing. Only rarely, they are dedicated to space. But the Corpus Alienum – “Intervention into Public Realm” was really organised for a space – the courtyard of the Pisztory Palace in Štefánikova Street in Bratislava.

EVENTS can be made for people, to commemorate an event, or sometimes to celebrate a thing. Only rarely, they are dedicated to space. But the Corpus Alienum – “Intervention into Public Realm” was really organised for a space – the courtyard of the Pisztory Palace in Štefánikova Street in Bratislava.

The 19th-century palace which once belonged to a renowned Bratislava (then called Pressburg or Pozsony) pharmacist Felix Pisztory was later a World War II-time German Embassy, Lenin’s Museum during communism and after the Velvet Revolution, it became the House of Slovaks Abroad. Abandoned for 12 twelve years, the building that belongs among the national historical monuments, was quickly dilapidating.

“We made a lot of work on the building,” Magda Vášáryová of the Via Cultura non-governmental organisation said at the happening on July 14 evening. “It was plagued by mould, not aired out, and plants were growing also on the walls, not to mention the wild garden. We cleaned and filled eight trucks with the waste collected here.”

After she outlined briefly the history of the site, another activist, Andrej Findor, was meant to hold a speech, too. However, a part of the happening was also a “sound installation” meaning that sounds of de-posing the statue of Lenin could be heard from his big statue which was placed on an honourable place of the yard.

“This is probably a “rhetoric battle” between me and Lenin” Findor said, “but it is impossible for me to compete with this volume.” (The visual and audio happening was the work of students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava.)

The main idea is to revive the palace and its courtyard, to transform it into a cultural and communal centre where good, innovative initiatives can take place. There is an old cinema where the first screening will take place on August 23 and later, mainly Czech and Slovak movies shall be showed there.

Via Cultura which said it wanted to reclaim the courtyard as a public space with the “intervention” has got the approval of the Old Town borough’s administration to manage the palace for three years in spring 2013.

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