We uncover our final bid book #3 Flow of nature, Living Water, Water Exhibitions and investments projects in Žilina, Bielsko-Biała and Frýdek-Místek

Explore our second program pillar ≈ The flow of Nature focused on nature, the climate crisis, and the sensitive connection between artistic creation and nature. Discover a project cluster ≈ Living Water responding to the regulation of watercourses and the loss of contact between the inhabitants of the region and water. ≈ Find out more about the Water Museum and immersive water exhibitions. Climate emergency is fundamentally affecting mountain cities, we have to not only raise awareness about the urgency of the matter but as well we have to look for innovative solutions. We are committed to forward the thinking in the field and our proposed investments are proof of it. In all three cities, we aim to create spaces for artists to address the environmental topics through culture.


Flow of Nature

No matter which direction you take from our cities, you quickly reach nature and beautiful mountains. In this programme pillar, we merge thematic focus on environmental issues with artistic creation and pay cultural tribute to the surrounding Beskids. Through deconcentrating our programme, spreading the events over a large territory and bringing them to remote areas, we will engage natural landscapes and dozens of small towns and villages in the ECoC programme, so that they also can be a part of the European dialogue. We will offer visitors from all over Europe the experience of the wilderness of Beskid forests and mountains, and opportunities to embark on a journey of art and adventure into themselves and the region’s identity. We will explore the traditional culture and inspire its contemporary reinterpretation. We will be as well addressing conflicting environmental and economic interests, and critically reconsider the relationship between humans and nature; the tension between the urges to protect and master it. We will be focusing on the issue of climate change and support adaptation techniques through better care of urban greenery and water management.


Living Water

Slovakia is a water power and together with the Czech Republic contains one of Europe’s major drainage divides. With its huge water reserves, wild rivers, and streams shaping the landscape, the struggle between humans and nature has been going on for centuries with the first water dam built in 1510. Nowadays, there are 281 artificial water reservoirs, fifty of which are included in the World Register of Large Dams. However, technocratic approaches have conceived and used water management mainly as a means of supporting economic and urban development at all costs. Rivers and streams were regulated and water’s presence was often made increasingly “invisible” to urban people. In the Living Water program cluster, we will try to create better access to water for the inhabitants of the town and the Beskids region and promote its importance through artistic projects.

Projects related to the project cluster Living Water

⬤ Flow Festival ⬤ Floating Memory Gardens ⬤ Story of the Water Exhibition ⬤ Melting Immersive Exhibition ⬤ River of Pure Becoming ⬤ Hello Raj~čanka ⬤ Water Stream Všivák ⬤ Water from Beskids ⬤ Rainy Days

Water Exhibitions 

The Žilina Beskids 2026 application includes two water museums, one in the Bôrik Environmental Park, next to Žilina’s oldest water reservoir, the other in the Aqua centre, as part of the new swimming pool building in Bielsko-Biała. They will promote a new relationship, a new water ethic, which helps to reconnect people with the tangible and intangible heritage of water, including its social, cultural, ecological, artistic, and spiritual dimensions. The museums will exhibit and interpret artefacts, techniques, and traditional knowledge to preserve and promote water-related values and heritage that have been passed down through civilizations, from generation to generation, and still inform and can influence everyday life today. The Environmental Artistic Center FM will be established in the partner town of Frýdek-Místek, which will focus the concept of the program on the issues of environmental issues and a sustainable city, especially in the years 2025-2026. As part of the Living Water project, several art exhibitions and projects dealing with the environment, climate and water will be presented in the Beskids region. In addition to a number of exhibitions, we also plan a regular annual art-science format, “River of Pure Becoming”, a three-years-long research project on the relationship between the city and the surrounding ecosystem. Project will include local and international artists and creative teams composed of various cultural, educational, and social science professions with the help of water managers, environmentalists, and city officials.


Enviromental park Bôrik

The project of the Environmental Park Bôrik will be the outcome of a complex reconstruction of the city’s oldest underground water reservoirs from 1908, currently owned by the private water distribution company SEVAK. The Environmental park Bôrik will consist of an Immersive museum, using cutting-edge technologies to offer a unique cultural experience and reflect current environmental issues in projection-based installations. It will also present, directly on site of the old water tank, permanent exhibitions about the water cycle, intended mainly for children and school trips. It is completed by a nice park, with interactive outdoor water installations, and the construction of a new building offering space for a visitor centre with a café and a workshop space.

Related ECoC events

⬤ Story of Water ⬤ Melting time ⬤ River of Pure Becoming ⬤ Inside Slovak Modernism

AQUA Bielsko-Biała

The Ecological Education Park “AQUA” will become a unique water museum for Bielsko-Biała and its region. It will include four educational rooms and interactive laboratories for organization of educational activities with an exhibition hall dedicated to permanent and temporary exhibitions, in addition to the existing swimming pool complex. The city of Bielsko-Biała has already organised an architectural competition, the winning project has been selected in September 2021. The aim of the AQUA is to promote the relationship and access to water and to connect people with the tangible and intangible heritage of water, including its social, cultural, artistic and spiritual dimensions.

Related ECoC events

⬤ Story of the water

The Environmental Artistic Centre FM

In 2024, the city of Frýdek-Místek will open its new city gallery in the building of the former Moravia Bank (the MoBa City Gallery). The programme of this new exhibition space for the period 2025–2026 will focus on environmental questions and sustainable city. As part of the two-year program, we want to present streams of contemporary visual art that thematize the situation of the climate crisis, look for ways out and offer visions for future development. We will open a debate on changes in the society as a whole, and at the same time will ask the question of what the price of such change would be. The Environmental Artistic Centre FM (EAC) will be the main tool to fulfill these intentions. It will be a platform for contemporary environmental art and a curatorial workspace in MoBa, which will mediate online exhibitions and a live programme in the gallery space. The EAC will collect data, organise debates and develop a ba- sis for art and environment residency programs, and present the outputs of those collaborations in a hybrid format, as well as other environment art projects from Bielsko-Biała and Žilina.

Related ECoC events

⬤ Cyanometer ⬤ City Herbarium ⬤ Future Art Forms ⬤ Invisible Air ⬤ Go Forward… Never Go Back! ⬤ Fresh AIR – Art and Environment Residencies ⬤ Environmental Artistic Centre FM ⬤ Odpoutaná scéna

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