In the period 2002-2006, as part of the "Confluent Margins" project, supported by Swiss Cultural program Macedonia, the Cultural center "Tocka" was created. The main idea was to make a strong network of NGO’s and individuals from the inner parts of the Macedonia and from the region which will have a point of meeting and acting in Skopje. From that point the ideas for integration and decentralisation should be dispersed.
The objectives of “Confluent Margins” since May 2002 have been decentralization/regionalization of culture and cultural policies and developing the integrative principles in our society. That is why we marked the necessity of developing in Skopje Cultural center "Tocka", a kind of cultural "counter-center", a cultural and social site in the capital where marginal cultural groups will not only regularly come together but joining together their efforts for self-presentation to the incomparably larger cultural audience. Matching the need for alternative cultural public space, Tocka soon became vivid and recognized space, not only for the project aims, but as a gathering ground and support center for many other cultural and public initiatives, to other cultural and artistic organizations, groups and individuals. This made the "off program" of the Center running very frequently and aiming at different audiences. In the period of four years, over 100 different events were held in Tocka, often with decentralized management.
If we are to sum up our previous existence we can say that the Cultural Center "Tocka" fulfilled one of it's most important aims: it woke up the young and creative people of diverse cultural and ethnic origin from the horrible apathy and gave example how can society be changed by cultural action. As direct outcome of Tocka existence, we can witness several other NGO-based initiatives creating new cultural spaces, and even from state bodies.
Let us remind you once again why the maintenance of an alternative cultural public space is so important for the city.
A City, as a complex structure consists of individual places, institutions and actors, activities and discourses. The relationship between the individual and the society is reflected in urban space. Here, according to Georg Simmel, is where the urban mentality is revealed, which is characterized by a complexity of relationships and situations. The public does not pre-exist as a predefined entity. Rather it is constructed in open, in permanent mobility. The consequences of that perspective in terms of cultural policies and practices that NGO Kontrapunkt is concerned and which is the main motive for running the Cultural center Tocka as public space are radical questioning of the dominant conceptions of cultural production and consumption. It opens up a range of possibilities for new actions, which can therefore enable the emergence of new socio-cultural structures. In this sense, the existence of public space is also a central characteristic of and a precondition for the urban. In physical space, Cultural center Tocka refers to the built environment, the infrastructural organization and architecture of the spot, the material characterizing the social surface, and determining the ongoing interactions.
In the period between 2006 -2010, The Cultural center Tocka provided a new physical space for the cultural center, thus enabling its activities and continuity.
This time negotiations with the government about a possible new location for the center brought success. This was a sign that NGO Kontrapunkt and Cultural center Tocka had meanwhile become a relevant factor, on which, the government but also the press and public opinion took a stance. In other words, it had been possible to raise public acceptance by constructing an image with a high symbolic value in the public sphere, which is an essential resource in times of crisis. It is also in this period when the Cultural center Tocka and the organisation Kontrapunkt focused their activities towards advocacy and policy, by becoming part of the initiatives for connecting regional independent cultural organisations and aiming to play an active role in the cultural policy making processes both in the region and internationally.A consultative process on these issues started in 2006, including a number of activities such as regional meetings and conferences in Zagreb (2006, 2008), Belgrade (2008), Skopje (2007) and Maribor (2009). These processes resulted in forming of the Association of the Independent cultural scene JADRO in 2012, and also being part of the regional network KOOPERATIVA.
The easy access and the open structure of both centers was housing the actors of the Independent cultural scene, represented a space where people met, exchanged ideas, developed projects and through different projects, learned about the democratization processes of the cultural scene and the society in general.
The space was offering the following services
Gallery and debate club space for various artistic and cultural events: exhibitions, discussions, promotions, presentations, etc. Part of the programme was created by the Center, and other part by different external groups who carried out cultural events.
Bookshop providing recent book production from Macedonia, but also foreign language literature, with accent on the neighbouring countries.
Library with selection of rare theoretical and art books.
The community area with free internet access, where people can meet and use the space as an informal co-working/ meeting space.
The bar and cold-snack kitchen with affordable prices, helping the self-sustainability aspect of the center.