Made in Slovenia

29 Oct 2019, 15:33 PM

STA, 29 October 2019 - A project presenting stories of refugee and migrant children in Slovenia carried out by the Časoris on-line magazine for children has been awarded this year's Intercultural Achievement Award (IAA) in the media category, conferred by the Austrian government.

Representatives of Zavod Časoris, the publisher of the magazine, received the award from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs at a ceremony in Vienna on Monday.

The award supporting intercultural projects related to education, youth, women, media, migration and integration went to the magazine for its project Stories of Children of the World among more than 200 competing projects from 31 countries.

Announcing the news, the publisher said that it was the first project from Slovenia to receive the award.

As part of the project, the on-line magazine has presented since 2017 a total of 17 stories of children from various countries; their customs, culture and tradition.

This year, seven of these children were revisited to see how they have integrated in the new environment in Slovenia and what helps them the most in the integration.

The creator of the project, journalist and editor Sonja Merljak Zdovc, said on the occasion that the project wanted to give a voice to those who were otherwise not heard.

"These are children who came to Slovenia from other countries - unaccompanied, as refugees or migrants, who were fleeing from war or poverty, and dreaming about a better, safer and more decent life," she added.

You can see examples of stories from Časoris, in both Slovene and English, here

07 Oct 2019, 10:40 AM

STA, 4 October 2019 - Slovenian and Swedish researchers have developed a new concept for aluminium batteries, doubling their energy density and at the same time reducing the cost to the environment by using readily available and less damaging materials than those used at the moment.

Aluminium batteries have a number of advantages over the currently used lithium-ion batteries, among them high capacity of the aluminium metal anode, as well as tried and tested production and recycling methods.

The newly developed concept could lead to a significant reduction in battery prices and lower the battery's impact on the environment, the Chemical Institute announced the news in a press release

Lower production cost and impact on the environment "make our system incredibly interesting for energy saving in large-scale photovoltaic or wind turbine plants," according to Patrik Johansson of the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Johansson and Robert Dominko of the Ljubljana Chemical Institute led two research teams that developed the new concept presented in late September in an article in the Energy Storage Materials journal.

Explaining the revolutionary concept, the article says that previous designs for aluminium batteries have used the aluminium anodes and graphite cathodes.

However, graphite provides too low an energy content to create battery cells with enough performance for everyday use. Now, graphite has been replaced by an organic, nanostructured cathode, made of the carbon-based molecule anthraquinone.

The anthraquinone cathode has been developed by one of article co-authors, Jan Bitenc of the Ljubljana Institute of Chemistry, while he was guest researcher at Chalmers.

According to Niklas Lindal, another co-author, the team is now working on eliminating chlorine from the electrolyte.

The researchers believe that although aluminium storage technology is a long way from commercial production, the new device will be able to compete or complement lithium-ion storage.

"So far, aluminium batteries are only half as energy dense as lithium-ion batteries but our long-term goal is to achieve the same energy density."

More details on this research can be found here

26 Sep 2019, 09:15 AM

STA, 25 September 2019 - The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) has conferred awards for breakthrough innovations as it honoured the most innovative businesses at the 17th Innovation Day on Wednesday.

Pharma company Lek won two top awards, for a new procedure for the purification of biopharmaceuticals and a new generation of probiotics, while its rival, Krka, was honoured for an innovative generic drug.

Caravan maker Adria Mobil received the award for a new generation of campers, Domel for new high-powered electric engines and ETI Elektroelement for a new generation of plastic parts for fuses.

Mediainteractive, a sole proprietorship, received the honours for a collaborative educational environment for emergency medical personnel and two companies, while Titus Dekani and Lama Avtomatizacija received a joint award innovations in machinery construction.

GZS president Boštjan Gorjup said innovativeness required a foundation in national culture and stressed that Slovenians were highly regarded abroad for their expertise. But he also stressed that "more courage, strong will and desire for collaboration" was needed.

President Borut Pahor said in his keynote that innovation was the key to improving productivity and increasing value added. "Successful companies understand this."

23 Sep 2019, 18:13 PM

Fresh from his appearance earlier this year as part of the Modern Gallery’s Time Without Innocence. Recent Painting in Slovenia (Čas brez nedolžnosti. Novejše slikarstvo v Sloveniji), Arjan Pregl now has two openings were you can see more his work, in Celje and Ljubjana.

arjan pregel 04.jpg

Photo: Tomaž Črnej

arjan pregl 05.jpg

Photo: Arjan Pregl

arjan pregl 06.jpg

Photo: Vasja Nagy

 

The Celje show, called GUGU GAGA, is on at the Likovni salon Gallery (Center Sodobnih Umetnosti Celje) and started on 20 September, running 20 October, and is where the pictures that accompany this story come from. More details can be found here.

arjan pregel 03.jpg

Photo: Tomaž Črnej

arjan pregel 02.jpg

Photo: Tomaž Črnej

Meanwhile, the Ljubljana show opens this Friday, 27 September and runs for about a month, at the Galerije Y (Gallery Y - pronounced “epsilon”, not “y”) at the far end of Trubarjeva cesta, #79, more or less opposite Tovarna Rog. Here, Pregl’s work will be shown alongside three of the gallery’s other artists, Tina Dobrajc, Duša Jesih, and Šašo Vrabič. The gallery is part of the SLOART project, which sells works by modern and contemporary Slovenian artists (learn more about that here).

18 Sep 2019, 15:18 PM

STA, 18 September 2019 - Tomaž Gorkič, the director of Slovenia's first feature-length horror film, the 2015 slasher Idyll, has returned to the genre that brought him acclaim. His latest film, which he describes as a "politically incorrect mix of horror and black comedy" will be on show at Kino Šiška tonight before it premieres in cinemas on Thursday.

Prekletstvo Valburge (Curse of the Valburga) has the brothers Bojan and Marjan hoping to make some easy money from hordes of tourists in their hometown by organising a tour of an abandoned local castle that is closed to the public.

They spice up the adventure with a local legend, oblivious to the existence of a powerful and much darker legend lurking in the abandoned building.

While Gorkič's latest venture is firmly rooted in the genre, it "does not neglect the present," the producers say.

"It boldly enters Slovenia's past and present where demons, Nazis, vampires, partisans, criminals, parvenus, sexists, snobs, cannibals, hicks, alcoholics, grubbers, junkies, obsessives and other members of society lurk."

It’s a trailer for a slasher movie, so NSFW

The all-star cast includes acclaimed theatre actors Jurij Drevenšek and Marko Mandič, game show host and actor Jonas Žnidaršič, as well as the mother-and-daughter pairing of Tanja Ribič and Zala Djurić Ribić, Swedish black metal musician Niklas Kvarforth and frontman of Slovenian rock band Big Foot Mama, Grega Skočir.

Like Idyll, Curse of the Valburga is an independent production spearheaded by Gorkič, a self-taught film maker, but unlike Idyll, which won the main prize in 2019, it will not be screened at the ongoing Festival of Slovenian Film.

Gorkič withdrew the film from the festival after the programme commission decided - without explanation - not to enter it in the competition programme.

17 Sep 2019, 11:50 AM

STA, 13 September 2019 - Six astronauts from five space agencies are training in Slovenia these days for space missions as part of the CAVES programme by the European Space Agency (ESA). Training in caves presents the astronauts with environments and situations very similar to spaceflight, to help them transfer the learning from their caving expedition to space.

Astronauts are exploring underground systems, delve deep underground to perform scientific experiments as well as chart and document their activities.

According to ESA, the training of the astronauts, who come from ESA, Russia's Roscomos, Canadian and Japanese space agencies, and NASA (two astronauts), started on Wednesday.

On 20 September, they will start their six-day stay at Lepa Jama, a cave in the Kočevje area in the south, where they will explore underground water flows.

The cave leads into a labyrinth of passages, which astronauts will have to explore on their own, as their communication with the team on the surface will be very restricted.

The ESA official who conceived the programme, Loredana Bessone, believes such a simulation is the closest possible environment that can be found on Earth to the "environmental, psychological and logistic restraints of a space mission".

Apart from training for their work in space, astronauts will also do some actual cave research, as the development of caves, underground water flows and underground life still contain many riddles for scientists, said Franci Gabrovšek from the Karst Research Institute of the Research Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU).

The astronauts will conduct research and mainly track the air and water flows so as to learn how to find water. They will also be on lookout for any unknown species that may have adapted themselves to the extreme conditions in the cave, and micro plastics, which have become a risk for the environment.

09 Sep 2019, 19:10 PM

STA, 9 September 2019 - History of Love (Zgodovina Ljubezni), a drama by Sonja Prosenc, will be Slovenia's candidate for the nomination for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, as selected by a jury of the Association of Slovenian Filmmakers.

The Slovenian/Italian/Norwegian co-production, made in 2018, has been picked for being an "unconventional and recognisable film, characterised by top performances by all team members, harmonised in a unified story."

With the film, Prosenc is making a strong return after her debut feature The Tree (2014), having already received a special mention for direction while premiering at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Competing for the five nominee spots for the foreign language Oscar, History of Love is a story about Iva, a 17-year-old who is in the process of coming to terms with the death of her mother.

"Influenced by this deep personal loss and by the discovery that she didn't know everything about her mom, the girl slowly immerses herself into an odd, hallucinatory world far from reality, which acts as a catharsis for all her painful feelings," says the website of the Kinodvor cinema.

The selection jury said that the film "paints the internal experience of the protagonist in a unique and elaborate film language, as she is facing her mother's mysterious past and trying to make sense of the newly-developed relationships".

According to the jury, the film speaks with silence, not words, while not underestimating the viewer, but providing room for their own reflection. "Time, thought and nature take a new dimension in this film, as they constantly open up fields of the associative, symbolic and intuitive."

The film, which was also written by Prosenc, received the Vesna Awards for photography and a special original achievement at last year's Festival of Slovenian Film, as well as a number of other awards in the home country.

08 Sep 2019, 19:35 PM

STA, 8 September 2019 - Several thousand firefighters and other visitors gathered in Metlika on Sunday to celebrate the 150th anniversary of firefighting in Slovenia, marking the day in 1869 when the first volunteer fire brigade was founded in Metlika. 

The first fire brigade on Slovenian territory was established on 19 September at the proposal of landowner Josip Savinšek. The following year fire brigades started cropping up in other places, including Laško, Ljubljana and Ptuj.

A century and a half later, Slovenia boasts what is seen as one of the best networks of volunteer fire brigades in the world, with over 1,300 local volunteer fire brigades bringing together 162,000 firefighters, almost a tenth of the country's population.

There are also 700 professional firefighters in 13 professional fire brigades.

Delivering the keynote at the ceremony in Metlika, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec, himself a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Kamnik, stressed that the umbrella Firefighters' Union was the biggest humanitarian organisation in Slovenia.

"Being a firefighter is an honour, but it is also a responsibility ... when all others give up, leave or become scared, the firefighter stays," he said, describing Slovenian firefighters as the envy of the world.

27 Aug 2019, 09:44 AM

STA, 26 August 2019 - Boris Pahor, one of the most celebrated Slovenian writers, turned 106 on Monday, celebrating his birthday at what has become a traditional event at Ljubljana's Konzorcij bookshop.

 A strong advocate of Slovenian identity and language, Pahor was born in Trieste in what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and still lives in this city in Italy.

He was a witness of Fascist violence against Slovenians, and survived a Nazi concentration camp, the experience he described in his celebrated novel Nekropola.

When it was first published in Slovenian in 1967, Necropolis was largely overlooked, but was in 1990 translated to French to critical acclaim.

Pahor took the opportunity of today's event to thank Slovenian philosopher Evgen Bavčar for his efforts for the French translation, which was followed by translations into a number of other languages.

"Today Nekropola is a world-famous novel," said Pahor, referring to himself as "a pilgrim among shadows" as is the title of the French translation.

Still considering himself "a citizen of the concentration camp", he said he had first visited the former "concentration camp some 50 kilometres from Salzburg where doctors dissected Jews to see if their brain is any different from that of European people", ten years after the end of the war.

Pahor has dedicated his life to warning about the pitfalls of totalitarian regimes and to promoting confidence based on a good knowledge of history and one's own identity.

Writer Peter Kovačič Peršin said Pahor had started writing as "an apostle of Sloveneness in an environment which is still not fond of him", and as "a messenger" who also wanted to revive the awareness of Slovenian identity and freedom among Slovenians in Slovenia.

"Your work has validated the greatness of Slovenian people, Slovenian national and Slovenian language," Kovačič Peršin told the packed bookshop, noting the love of the mother tongue was the recurring theme of Pahor's books.

Culture Minister Zoran Poznič praised Pahor as a witness who "draws attention to what went wrong in the 20th century so that it would not be repeated in the 21st century".

The head of the Slovenian Book Agency, Renata Zamida, said many abroad considered him the embodiment of literary creativity in Slovenia, while here he is considered the personification of national pride.

Many foreign journalists consider Pahor "a miracle of historical memory", Zamida said at the event, organised by Mladinska Knjiga and Cankarjeva Založba, and also attended by Minister for Slovenians Abroad Peter Česnik and Slovenian Senator in the Italian parliament Tatjana Rojc.

Pahor has received many awards and honours for his work, including the Prešeren Prize in 1992 and the Silver Order of Merit in 2000. In 2007, he was presented with the Legion of Honour, France's highest state order.

17 Aug 2019, 13:16 PM

The Slovenian avant-garde folk trio Širom, made up of Iztok Koren, Ana Kravanja and Samo Kutin, have been getting good reviews for their latest album, A Universe That Roasts Blossoms For A Horse, so we thought we’d put together a post with a few videos to familiarise you with their “imaginary folk music”. You can follow the band on Facebook. They’re about to start a European tour, with their next local show on 3 October (2019) at Ljubljana’s Kino Šiška.

07 Aug 2019, 17:55 PM

This year’s Salon Privé, to be held at Blenheim Palace in the UK from 5 to 8 September (2019), will have some Slovenian flair among the usual classic cars, supercars and hypercars, with the carmaker Tushek set to show off its new TS 900 H Apex.

What is a hypercar? In simple terms it’s an elite supercar, a cut above the rest, with special features and produced in ultra-limited numbers, and the TS 900 H Apex is in this class for numerous reasons. For one it’s very light, with a kerb-weight of just 1410kg, enabled by the use of carbon fibre. For another its powered by a hybrid system that pairs two front-mounted electric motors with a rear-mounted supercharged 4.2-litre V8 engine that produces a power to weight ratio of 502kW per tonne. With this Tushek claims the vehicle can go from 0-60mph (0-96 km per hour) in 2.5 seconds, with a  top speed of 380 km per hour. In addition to these and other special features, the TS 900 H Apex features a striking design with a removable top and scissor doors, with some reports indicating a price tag of around US$1.4 million.

Tushek was established in 2012 by Aljosa Tushek, a Slovenian racing driver who now leads the company’s team in its efforts to produce “the ultimate hypercar”. You can learn more about the company here.

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