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HEKA – Koper, Slovenija

HEKA is a laboratory at the intersection of art and science, which is open since September 2021. It is a fruitful result of a long strategic plan programme MCRUK of the Association for Culture and Education PiNA.


Heka is an Egyptian goddess who was associated with magic and medicine (in Ancient Egypt this was equal). In addition to that, Heka literally translates to ‘activating Ka’, the soul element that expresses personality and uniqueness.

Heka existed ‘before duality had yet come into being’[1]. The ideal foundation for the contents of the HEKA laboratory is the artistic force that exists beyond duality (good vs. evil, man vs. woman, in our case: art vs. science).

As Borut Jerman, the president of PiNA and the founder of HEKA states: »Creativity and art have a vast potential in tackling various challenges; on the other hand, the economy is constantly looking for innovation and development, and science is facing one of its biggest crises of trust. I believe that such spaces succeed in realizing the synergies of different approaches and effects that can contribute to innovation, trust, and progress. HEKA is undoubtedly such a space. «[2]


It is a platform of networking and cooperation between different stakeholders, establishing a dialogue between society and science using art and artistic thinking. The primary starting point of HEKA is the introduction of empathic curiosity and compassion, which is characteristic of art, into scientific methods of research.

By taking the characteristic of a precise world of science together with the nonframed one of the arts, it is possible to imagine a type of citizen science that provokes group reflection on shared concerns in the local community that are not the usual scene of scientific research.

“I can find citizen science opportunities that relate to almost any interest of our youth, connecting them to the larger world of science.” —Bill Million, 4-H Educator

Therefore, HEKA has much to offer to youth, and youth educators, also by making  science, technology, and art learning accessible, relevant, and meaningful.


HEKA is currently working in the areas of research of spatial sound reproduction, biomaterials and human impacts on the marine ecosystem. HEKA’s thematic areas were designed together with external collaborators. The last one was developed by the intermedia artist and researcher Robertina Šebjanič and the first one, by sound researcher, composer and curator of the Ambisionc room in HEKA, Mauricio Valdés San Emeterio. However, they were all thought thought the creative head of the laboratory and the researcher of the biomaterials pillar, the intermedia artist and curator Marko Vivoda.

The common thread that connects the thematic areas of the laboratory is tackling the climate crisis and its consequences. In this way, young individuals can constructively and critically rethink the matter from a sustainable point of view.

In the fields of underwater sound pollution, HEKA has developed a series of workshops for individuals, that would ideally be interested in the marine ecosystem, sound pollution, and would pass on the knowledge to their peers, individuals that have been motivated to reach such competences. This would form a sense of community belonging and an activisation of individuals with same interest of field.

HEKA has a laboratory, which holds workshops for youngsters in the fields of biomaterials. This is how HEKA becomes an experimental learning environment, that invites visitors to participatory engage with the matter. All workshops that are being developed in HEKA, are means which are carrying out research based on data and presented in a more natural setting than the strictly scientific way, which is quite restrictive.

In the field of spatial sound reproduction, the curator Mauricio Valdés San Emeterio has been developing a one-on-one session focused on different spatial sound mixing techniques with ambitious young artists and musicians.

Nevertheless, from its official opening, HEKA has established few cooperations with local Secondary schools, Universities and has therefore strengthened the power of non-formal education. More than 300 youngsters from Slovenia and all over the EU have been actively participating in HEKA’s activities (from workshops to ESC long-term and short-term programs).

Besides, HEKA has also established cooperation with the Secondary Technical School of Koper to implement laboratory work in the educational program of mechatronics techniques. The aim is to enrich the program of the Secondary Technical School by combining the elements of art and technology.

This is just a start of a platform that is becoming a space of integration for all who recognize the value of activating potentials, education, transformation, and humanization through the empathic merging of science and art. Talking of which, cooperation with youth is essential to develop the principles and strategies

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