Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
12 October 2022–20 November 2022
Part of U30+ production programme for supporting young artists
The Kvadratni meter art collective draws attention to the issue of the increasing inaccessibility of the “commons”, of public and residential spaces – from restrictions in public spaces due to them becoming elite to the construction of luxury real estate and a lack of housing for the underprivileged population, from social anxieties arising from the housing crisis to personal difficulties related to badly planned and ever-smaller living environments. Space is increasingly subjected to the interests of capital, aggravating the overall socio-economic distress of the population.
In their latest art project Welcome, the artists shed light on how the arrival of online platforms in the fields of tourism and real estate contributes to the housing problem in complex (yet anecdotally very palpable) ways. The collective that, in 2019, resoundingly “updated” the scale model of Ljubljana with tags of “Airbnbs” now expands its artistic gesture to the dimensions of an actual real estate – the Aksioma Project Space.
One of the largest online platforms for renting apartments, founded by “three guys” who “turned renting an air mattress in their apartment into a multi-billion dollar company”,  is part of the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis, which, through the hardships of individuals, gave impetus to the platform economy. In practice, it turned out that the platform is not an example of the sharing economy, but a story of entrepreneurship and ingenuity, which transformed apartments, basements and bike sheds into a means of mass tourism and investments. It finally established its identity by promoting the value and the right to “live anywhere” – in tree houses, windmills, caves and transport containers … Anywhere but in an affordable, long-term rental or owner-occupied apartment with a suitable floor space, it seems.
Their response to the criticism about the negative impact on the long-term rental possibilities for the locals and the effect on the rise in real estate prices, gentrification and the overburdening of cities with mass tourism is that they envision the platform will also pursue long-term rentals in the future. In light of the approaching crisis, the platform sees the perfect opportunity to add more hosts, while the accommodations become even more interesting for flexible remote workers.
With its project Welcome, the Kvadratni meter collective places Aksioma on Airbnb’s map as the next in the series of accommodations under the tag “Apartment in Ljubljana”. With an uncompromising artistic appropriation of the logic of capital, the artists turned the gallery into an actual accommodation on Airbnb and barred visitors from entering the exhibition venue, which is now open only for short-term rental. With their transformative gesture, the artists reflect on how we will reside in the near future and point out the urgent need for systemic changes, which will remain a pressing issue in the upcoming “season” as well.
 Aydin, R. (2019, September 20). How 3 guys turned renting air mattresses in their apartment into a $31 billion company, Airbnb. Insider. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.com/how-airbnb-was-founded-a-visual-history-2016-2
Kvadratni meter is a collective of four artists that has been active since 2019. They express their sensitivity to social issues, especially the right of residence, through performances, installations, sculptures and interventions in public spaces, and address the issues of gentrification, inaccessibility of housing and lower living standards, both locally and globally. Their projects include A Monument to the Housing Crisis (plaza in the Metelkova Museum Quarter), rent+expenses (Cirkulacija2), Stealing Land (Alkatraz Gallery) and two interventions in public space: Real Estate Market in Republic Square and Updating the Scale Model of Ljubljana.
Author: Kvadratni meter (Klara Kracina, Teja Miholič, Sangara Perhaj, Urša Rahne)
Mentors: Janez Fakin Janša, Maja Burja
Text: Maja Burja
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2022
the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana