anita strasser



Eipprova 19, Ljubljana

Eipprova 19 - book

This project documents everyday life in a hidden courtyard in Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, where I lived from 2007-2009. I moved there in January 2007 and something struck me straight away about this place. As soon as you walk through the gate, the noise of the city disappears, and you enter a space where time seems to have stopped a while ago. Each front door is adorned with various items old and new, allowing you a little glance into the life of a stranger. An elderly man is chopping wood, his dog beside him, you hear musicians rehearsing somewhere in the building, some people are sitting on the balcony having a smoke, there are drawings on the crumbling walls, kids’ laughter is coming from somewhere upstairs. I started photographing the space, encountering my neighbours in the process. This is how I got to know them and the history of the building. After realising that many of my new neighbours at Eipprova 19 lamented the fact that they did not know each other well, I started this project to utilise photography and interviewing as a way of initiating contact between them, hoping to build lasting relationships. After photographing people in their homes or around the building, as they preferred, and noting down their views on living at this address, we agreed that I organise an exhibition / neighbour's event in the courtyard, nailing all images and texts onto the wooden sheds and inviting all to join with food and drink. The exhibition brought many neighbours together but also residents all around as the exhibition became part of the Eipprova Street Festival organised by the Urban Institute Slovenia. The images stayed up for two weeks until a violent storm ripped most of them off the sheds (which were then saved by residents). During those two weeks I observed neighbours coming out getting to know their neighbours through the images and texts and eventually through more frequent small talk. The shared experience of being part of the project and the exhibition enabled dialogue and neighbours commented afterwards that it had improved relations.

The work was also exhibited in SEM café (the popular café at the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana) in 2008, the Fair Trade Shop in Saalfelden, Austria (during a local arts festival in 2009) and in Conway Hall, Ethical Society in London in 2017/18.