Habitat Vol.1 2018
The project Habitat vol.1 revolves around the life of a student campus located in 40 minutes from the centre of Helsinki. Due to the local life schedule, travel time takes forever: people look at you with pity. However, the rental cost is an advantage. In Helsinki, one can rent a tiny closet for this sum. But with high ceilings. Life in Helsinki aspires verticals. Here, in a temporary dwelling for a mixture of people, cultures, and languages, one needs to build horizontal connections. From the company website: “it is an example of what the student community can do together. It all began when 16 student organisations in the Helsinki area put their heads together, gathered a small amount of capital and took out a hefty bank loan. In a little over 45 years, that small amount of start-up capital has turned into a business with a turnover of 70 million euro and 9 400 student apartments”.
Guest. It starts from a Platos quotation on my door: “The great wealth is to live content with little». If Plato is already here, I will recall Derrida (here and further) quoting him: “Back to places we think are familiar: in many of Platos dialogues, it is often the Foreigner (Xenos) who questions. He carries and puts the question”. A landlord performs an act of hospitality and through legal procedure changes your status from a foreigner to a guest; here, they are called tenants. Tenants are generously let to share a transit space where the threshold between public and private stays uncertain. A connection between realms is called a master key and is often used for random inspections.
The language of a Master. “That is where the question of hospitality begins: must we ask the foreigner to understand us, to speak our language, in all the senses of this term, in all its possible extensions, before being able and so as to be able to welcome him into our country?” To be welcomed here, you need to follow the orders of the master obediently. Violations are meant to be reported. Sometimes this fragile equilibrium of worlds is tried to be violated by miserable attempts of neighbours crawling their fingers through the post slits and yelling for love in the silence of the night. To report a violation – use a Language of a Master. To relieve your dwellers tension in a social media - use a Language of a Master.
Parasite. “Hospitality, reception, the welcome offered have to be submitted to a basic and limiting jurisdiction”. It is a common transgression of many outgoers – to leave a tiny piece of chaos after themselves, more like a symbolic gesture of liberation from a subordinate status of a guest. This ritual of transition is forgivable to an outgoer. Is it excusable to an artist?
Ksenia Yurkova decided to enter communication with the community in a peculiar way. Making small installations using leftover of previous tenants, or reshaping common areas, even pranking a management company, she provoked discussions among the community members struggling with an unexpected and uninvited intrusion. Through interventions into spaces, through small transgressions questioning the guest status, then she pursued questions about vulnerable boundaries between notions of public and private, and conditions where hospitality turns into hostility.