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CITY OF WOMEN: 18th International Festival of Contemporary Arts (4 - 13 Oct 2012, Ljubljana/Slovenia)


The 18th International Festival of Contemporary Arts - City of Women will take place in Ljublana/Slovenia from 4 - 13 October 2012. This year's edition of City of Women Festival will adress the topic of Aging / Staranje

Excerpts from the concept of Mara Vujić (artistic director of City of women 2012):

Aging is not a very popular topic, largely due to the fact we live in an era of obsessive fascination with youth, beauty and physical strength where people will do anything to delay growing old. Aging has for a long time been neglected within feminist and women studies as well as in art and activism, and as a result, we tried to explore how this subject has invaded contemporary art, and what questions are posed. In a broader social context, aging has become a political and economic issue, indeed, an ageing population has become a global phenomenon as life expectancy gets longer, retirement ages are being increased and thereby this “embarrassing” topic has been given special attention. In addition, 2012 has been the European year of active ageing and intergenerational solidarity.

At a local level, we are faced with anti-crisis measures in the form of a new package of reforms in the pension system which literally anticipates “active ageing” and dramatic violations of social rights. Further to issues of intergenerational solidarity (i.e. how to understand the reduction of pensions, public health services and other social mechanisms) other questions emerge, such as the attitude of young people and the middle generation to their own ageing, as well as social and economic pressures which are rapidly aggravating the situation. Radical changes and worst-case scenarios for the future make us reflect on the role of elders in these contemporary, eternal-youth oriented societies. Today, the 'future' and 'progress' are considered the two most relevant values, whilst old age is seen as having no future and remains excluded from the competition; it is pushed to the social margins and in the worst case, is just something that gets in the way. After all, we are all aging and if we wonder what future lies ahead of us, the possible scenarios bring only uncertainty and despair. Indeed, there are no social rights in our future; pensions are merely utopian dreams and a dignified life in an old age a long forgotten myth. For the majority of the population, of course.

These trends of violating historically acquired social rights demonstrate that today it is no longer appropriate to grow up and grow old with dignity, as if (apparent) youth alone would ensure a better quality of life. Statistically, there has always been gender asymmetry in the economic situation of older men and women. Due to the fact that with age, women – generally having lower pensions and subject to larger pressures as to their appearance and functionality – are exposed to specific social expectations and requirements, we focused our interest on women's voices, experiences, reflections and troubles from the marginalised field of the invisible; from art projects and education programmes to discussions and activist actions. Some of them will be presented at this year’s ‘adult’ 18th International Festival of Contemporary Arts – City of Women.

The 2012 festival remains loyal to the trans-disciplinary model, though somewhat more modest than in previous years, but no less interesting. The topics are tackled by women artists of all generations, though with emphasis on artists of the middle and older generations, from all over the world and will range from intimate reflections on their attitude to their own bodies, its alleged defects and faults, to a broader social and critical dealing with the euphoric recourse to plastic surgery and the aggressive dictates of the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. They will also address the economic reasons for the cosmetic industry to be making a fortune from the myth of eternal youth.


You are kindly invited to the festival that will – hopefully – shake prejudices towards the much “hated” subject of old age and show that old age is nothing but one of periods in a life. With respect and solidarity it can be as beautiful and productive as youth!


46° 3' 5.1336" N, 14° 30' 21.4776" E
Names of Producers/organizers/editors/creators: 
City of Women – Association for the promotion of women in culture Artistic Director: Mara Vujić
10/04/2012 - 10/13/2012
Older woman
Representation of women