Avtonomna Tovarne ROG
Rog factory is an industrial complex on the east edge of Ljubljana centre, which produced the famous Rog bicycles and was shut down in 1991. Since then it has laid abandoned, empty, and in deterioration for 15 years. In 2006 the area was occupied by engaged students, artists and activists as a critical response to the post-socialist transition process (privatisation and de-industrialisation), and erosion of public and social spaces (individualisation and atomisation of society). The occupation pulled legitimacy from the need for places for non-formal artistic, cultural and political activity (autonomy, alternative culture, horizontal political organising).
Users secured and cleaned the spaces and established ateliers, workshops, galleries, a skate-park, concert hall, recreational facilities and social centres among others. Despite the municipal efforts to block or disable the grassroots activities (refusal to sign the legal contract for at least temporary use, and not allowing the community to tap into public electricity network), the users used their self-initiative, collaboration and resourcefulness and in 11 years created one of the main junctions of urban culture, critical thought and political activism on the level of the city, the state and beyond.
Where are we today?
Today, there are around 15 organized collectives and around 200 individuals active in the factory in 30 spaces that are relatively self-sufficient and autonomous. The community is bound together through assembly which is the main political body following the principle of direct democratic decision making and consulting.
The activities taking place in Rog can be summarized as:
- Artistic and cultural production - figural, contemporary, multimedia and performative arts, sculpture, graffiti, street theatre, circus, music production, ecological urban farming and permaculture, art theory, philosophy and political theory, etc;
- Recreational and movement activities - skateboarding, rollerblading and BMX-ing, kung fu, tai chi chuan, silk dancing, all sorts of juggling, acrobatic and other circus activities, break dancing and football, etc;
- Activism - grassroot political organizing, networking, education and training, direct actions and building of horizontal political structures, reading circles, simposiums, etc;
- Social and music events - jam sessions, concert, club events, experimental musical-performative-social events, picnics, gatherings, flea-markets, etc.;
- Handy craft - construction works, repair and assembly of electronic and music equipment, recycling and manufacturing of furniture, permaculture workshops, clothes exchange, dressmaking/sewing and traditionally - bicycle repair, etc.
- children's activity
- work space/diy