Why do we want Slovakia to be famous?

In late 1990s, Karol Spišák, the director of Nitra, attended a theater festival somewhere abroad. He met with a cultural community in the country who asked him where he came from. From Slovakia, he said proudly. Slow, slow … from Ljubljana? The first one asked. No, Karol replied condescendingly, it is Slo-va-ki-a, he stressed. BELGRADE? Another one asked . No, S-L-O-V-A-K-I-A, Karol spoke up. I have never heard of that, sadly added the third. Slovakia! Karol got furious. – Prague!! Oh yes, clear, great … Menzel, Hrabal, Kundera …., Havel, clear. The cultural folks lightened up .

Who will undertake the iconoclastic function? Who will attack the bastions of old structures and make cultural people unlearn to bend back and worship authorities? Who will be identified with today’s imagination of a modern Slovak? We cannot pretend that we have the strength and talent to organise permanent amazing cultural show. We do not even have the capacity to hold Bakhtin “carnivals”. Some will say – what a pity, some will crawl into a small room to books in delight. These are not the ones who provide long-term project of modernisation of thinking and acting in culture. And finally change our:
- Orientation to the position in some of the neighboring cultures
- Orientation (until now toothless) for commerce, such as cultural tourism,
- Orientation (non-existent) to institutions abroad – universities, cultural institutions, foundations,
- Orientation (poor) to obtain financial partners abroad.

Magdaléna Vášaryová