Kvadratni meter / Square Meter
Self Check-in, 2023, installation
The collective Kvadratni meter is concerned with social issues that threaten the lives of ordinary people in urban areas. They approach the housing crisis by engaging the public in situations such as performances, installations and sculptures. They set a stage in a variety of ways: a collapsing roof, temporary ownership of an Airbnb, a land-stealing game, are some of the social experiments the collective has exposed their audience to.
The project Self Check-in centres its focus on objects that symptomatically and yet subtly infiltrate the urban environment. These objects are lockboxes, used by Airbnb proprietors to facilitate the handover of keys to tourists. These compact boxes, into which a code is entered to retrieve the key for an Airbnb apartment, are abundant throughout the city, often affixed to the facades of historic buildings and frequently clustered together. If we notice them, they offer information about the extent to which houses in the centre of the city are exclusively designated for tourist occupancy. Through the installation of these lockboxes, the collective draws attention to the widespread issue of the touristification of Ljubljana. This phenomenon not only eradicates public space but also contributes to the displacement of the city’s permanent residents. Due to the lack of regulation of the rental market and the unwavering profit-oriented pursuit of property owners, long-term tenants are either driven out of the city or find themselves confined to inadequate accommodation and uncertain living conditions. Following the collective’s previous project titled “Welcome”, for which they temporarily transformed a gallery space into a functional Airbnb, the current project involves affixing lockboxes to Grad Tivoli (seat of MGLC). This serves as a poignant reminder that spaces accessible to all can eventually become exclusive to tourists.
Kvadratni meter [Square Meter] collective was founded in 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where they also work.