I Came, I Saw…


From Santa Cruz Sentinel:  

Slovakian performance group Platform 1-12 comes to Santa Cruz

“Nástupište 1-12” (or, in English, “Platform 1-12”) is a contemporary arts association based out of Topolcany, Slovakia. Platform 1-12 is named for the association’s multimedia space which sits beneath the bus station platform for the 1-12 buses in downtown Topolcany. Founded by artists Zuzana Godalova and Julo Kristof, Platform 1-12 consists of visual artists, graphic designers, activists and performance artists. The group works with regional and international artists through its exhibitions, lectures, seminars, workshops, work with public radio, theater performances, film screenings, music performances and discussions. Their work includes partnering with other cultural and educational institutions inside and outside the region, including secondary schools. Most of the group’s art works are site specific and are a key part of their international exchange program Regular Lines. Their exchange program has taken them to Amsterdam, the U.K., Austria and now the U.S.

This month Regular Lines has brought seven artists from Platform 1-12 to Santa Cruz: Erick Sille, Lucia Tallova, Veronika Sramatyova, Matej Lacko, Lenka Srsnova, Zuzana Zabkova and Fero Kiraly. The Santa Cruz exchange is the vision of Boulder Creek resident Vlada Jakubikova, a native of Slovakia. This three-week artist-in-residency program will include presentations, performances, exhibits and discussions. While here, Platform 1-12 will be creating site-specific art works that will be exhibited at the Apricity Gallery (apricitygallery.com) from July 18 through Aug. 3. Artists Fero Kiraly and Zuzana Zabkova will do five performances at this year’s Santa Cruz Fringe Festival starting this Saturday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. at the 418 Project.

I sat down with founders Zuzana G. and Julo, as well as Lucia, Lenka and Zuzana Z. to talk about Platform 1-12.

Kirby Scudder: What made you decide to start Platform 1-12?

Platform 1-12: We come from a relatively small town of about 40,000 people and, unlike Santa Cruz, there is no university, which as you know creates a different dynamic in a town. So we thought that we could create a dialogue with our community through contemporary art. We found a cheap space underneath the bus and train station, and above us is the platform for the 1 through 12 buses and we called the space Platform 1-12. Initially we focused on using the space for exhibitions which we still do, but we quickly expanded our mission to be more interactive. Interactive within our own community as well as with artists from other countries. We do a lot of programming in the space during rush hour when there are the most amount of people above us going to or coming from work. Initially people thought we were strange and didn’t know what to make of us, but over time they really began to enjoy the work that we are doing. Today we have a very strong relationship with our community and have had the chance to form great relationships outside of our country as well. All of the artists in Platform 1-12 are from different parts of the country, so it is not often that we are together as a group. We didn’t know any of the artists before we just made a selection based on their work.

Kirby Scudder: How did the connection with Santa Cruz come about?

Platform 1-12: Vlada grew up in Topolcany and has now been in the States for a few years, but visits home regularly and we started talking about the Regular Lines exchange program and she has this great place in Boulder Creek. So it was an opportunity for Platform 1-12 to come to the U.S. to do an artists-in-residency. We got financial support from the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic and the Santa Cruz Arts Council. Vlada organized the events here in Santa Cruz with the Apricity Gallery and the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival. We approached the artists about six months ago so that they could start planning for this trip. Some of the artists who will be performing here hadn’t met yet so they needed to figure out how they would work together. We have musicians, dancers, fashion artists, painters a diverse group of artists creating works here based on their inspiration drawn from Santa Cruz. Vlenka is designing a custom-made outfit for Zuzana because it needs to hold a very specific instrument throughout the performance which is very challenging. But of course this is the great thing about these artists working together here.

For more information about Platform 1-12 go to www.nastupiste.sk/en/events and www.regularlinesantacruz.com.