New Media Art Support Infrastructure and Funding


In Slovenia the first funding institution that recognised new media as an important contemporary art phenomenon was the Open Society Institute - Slovenia (informally called Soros foundation) that established infrastructural support and funding through its programmes: Soros Center for Contemporary Arts - Ljubljana (1993–1999), Ljudmila - Ljubljana Digital Media Lab (since 1994), and later on also KIBLA Multimedia Centre (since 1996) and PINA Primorje Information Atelier (since 1997).

The history of new media art funding on a national level, however, began with the establishment of the Ministry of Information Society in 2001, which up to 2004 co-funded several cultural and educational organisations and projects involving ICT technologies. In 2002 the Slovene Ministry of Culture formed a special Section for Intermedia Arts, and in 2003 intermedia arts were given a separate line in Ministry's budget. The paper Assessment of the Current Cultural Situation and Proposed Priority Objectives, published by the Ministry of Culture in 2002, finally acknowledged the importance of intermedia arts, emphasising the international acclaim with which some artists, as pioneers of an emerging art form, had been greeted, and emphasising the need for broader accessibility and stronger media support in Slovenia. On the other hand the report assessed cultural demand for intermedia arts as deficient due to an ‘uninformed public’, pointing to lack of education and critical reflection in that area.

The Resolution on the National Programme for Culture 2004–2007, adopted by the National Assembly in 2004, determined the priorities, goals and required measures for a national cultural policy. Intermedia arts and related activities such as organising festivals, handling intermedia heritage, establishing the optimum conditions for individual creativity, education, informatisation, research, supporting projects, international co-operation and promotion were recognised as being in the public interest. For intermedia arts the document set the general goal of 'the increase of the extent and number of programmes and projects in the intermedia field by 20 per cent by 2007'. To achieve this goal, priority support needed to be given to the expanded network of regional intermedia centres and to funding creativity by authors and workers in the field of intermedia arts, thereby raising the production level. In the same year the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information Society threw their support behind the idea of a Cultural Information Backbone infrastructure development for Intermedia arts – a network of nine Slovene multimedia centres (later called M3C Multimedia Centres Network of Slovenia) funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

In 2004 a three-year funding cycle for major cultural programmes in the independent sector was introduced at the Ministry of Culture. In the three-year period 2004–2006, the Ministry selected 10 NGOs for intermedia arts programme support, while in the subsequent three-year period 2007–2009 it selected six NGOs for intermedia arts programme support.

Each Autumn since 2003 there has also been an annual public call by the Ministry of Culture for the funding of smaller intermedia art projects. Guidelines suggest that such support is primarily intended for the following aims: stimulation of creative use of technologies; public cultural programmes and private cultural organisations active in the field of Intermedia arts; development of human resources in the cultural-technical area; informal education in areas where formal training remains under-represented; production and post-production; international co-operation; and organisation of intermedia arts festivals and presentations abroad.

In November 2004 the Ministry of Information Society was abolished in accordance with that year’s Government of the Republic of Slovenia Act. Tasks (and budget heads) within the competence of the Ministry of Information Society were transferred mainly to the Ministry of the Economy and the newly-established Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

In July 2007 a new draft of the strategic ‘National Programme for Culture’ was published for public discussion. Continuous support for the M3C Multimedia Centres Network of Slovenia has been stressed as one of priorities of the intermedia chapter, and more emphasis is placed on promotion of Intermedia arts among domestic audiences. Yet there remains a lack of structural support for individual artists and creators. Artistic production in the larger urban municipalities is partly financed through local government tenders and calls for individual projects, as well as through programmes of different venues. Complex intermedia projects are usually high-budget because of the new technology involved. As most intermedia artists have high production skills and are engaged internationally, they have hitherto secured most of their project funds abroad, with matching funds from Slovenia being quite scarce. Consequently several Slovene intermedia projects have only been presented abroad and not staged in Slovenia.

Although intermedia artistic production in Slovenia is abundant and internationally renowned, the infrastructure for intermedia arts, including education, media coverage, theoretical basis and funding are yet to be developed within a coherent vision of cultural development.

See also

Related reading:

On the portal we have been using new media art as terminus technicus. The terminology is explained in the Introduction to New Media Art in Slovenia article.