The Maestro better known as Blu is now in Eastern Europe where he just finished a brand new piece somewhere on the streets of Ljubljana in Slovenia.
The Rog Factory (Tovarna Rog) is a squat in Ljubljana, Slovenia which has been occupied since 2006. Before the occupation it was an abandoned and decaying former bicycle factory that had stopped operating after the downfall of Yugoslavia.
From 2006 till now diverse collectives and individuals found their space in Rog and restored parts of the complex to make a use of it through a self-organised actions with their own resources. There are various art/craft studios, an indoor skate park, a circus practise ground, a social centre, a gym and other infrastructures which are being used by a vast array of people.
Most of the spaces are open for public, and they organise/host many non-profit activities
(solidarity actions, safe spaces for refugee self-organization, etc.).The complex is located in the city centre, which the municipality of Ljubljana is trying to gentrify along with the rest of the down town area.
The Municipal plan proposed to demolish some parts of the complex and (re)build a new complex that would be used for profitable
purposes and for sterile institutionalized art spaces. The municipality notified the community of Rog that they need to leave or they are going to be evicted. After years of hard work, thousands of hours of autonomous initiative, and with no chances to carry on the activities somewhere else, Rog users decided to stay and protect their spaces.
On Monday, 6th of June at 03:15 in the morning, a security company hired by the municipality stormed into Rog with a bulldozer in order to ‘secure’ the space and to turn it into a construction site. This was a decree of the mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran JankoviÄ‡. Despite of their violent and brutal approach the community of Rog managed to defend the place. Thanks to a direct action of few hundred people the security guards were pushed out from Rog the same day.
From the statement of the assembly of the autonomous Rog Factory users:
‘We demand for the municipality to come clear on how many bones they are still willing to break in order to appease to the mayor’s ego.
How far are they willing to go to please the interest of the capital? We are calling for opening a common place for a true dialogue instead of escaping to ‘violence’.
The eviction wasn’t the only threat as later in the week a group of neo-Nazis attacked Rog.
Both were defended successfully. Rog is still fighting for its existence!