aisling o'beirn
artist documentation site

view of cell from top bunk

first aid kit, plant stand and coat rack

table and chair

book shelf and books

some political street savvy hints for survival




sestava : metelkova barracks cell conversion to youth hostel room, collaboration with franc purg 2003

Metelkova Barracks was a former prison and military barracks in Ljubljana. After the departure of the Yougoslave army it was demilitarised and left vacant. Squatters occupied the entire complex setting up studios and workshops etc. Their occupation ensured that the city authorities did not demolish it and that it remained as a city resource.

After much campaigning and work by various bodies the whole site is gradually being redeveloped. A group called Sestava conceived and oversaw the conversion of the former prison into a youth hostel. Each cell was converted into a room housing 2 guests. Artists were invited to design the room conversions.

This conversion made with artist Franc Purg The room consists of functional pieces of furniture customised with drawings and texts
from a collection of books left in the room for use by the guests.

The books, housed on a costumised book shelf are designed to be a library. They form an ecclectic mix, in various languages covering travel, philosophy, politics, language and survival amongst other topics. The guests are encouraged to borrow them but also to donate books of their own.

The reading list includes amongst others:

Good Housekeeping's New Basic Cookerey, Compiled by Good Housekeeping Institute (London, Ebury Press 1970, 1st ed. 1966)
Navodilo; za izdelavo, nabavo in uporabo filmov in diapuzitivon pri poucevanju in usposabljanju pripadnikov teritorialne obrambe, mladine in prebivalstva za splošno ljudsko obrambo (Split,zvezni sekretariat za ljudsko obrambo, 1977)
Lefevr, Anri, Marksizam; Aktuelni Problemi Marksizma, Urednik, Pavicevic, Vuko, Original, Lefebvre, Henri, Le Marxisme, Paris 1948, (Beograd, Bigz, 1972)
Packard, Vance, The Hidden Persuaders, (New York, Pocket Books, 1964) Original David McKay 1957
Košicek, Dr., Marijan, Moški V ţkripcih, (Ljubljana, Mladinska Knijiga, 1989)
Sveto Pismo, Nove Zaveze, Prevedli, Jere, Dr., Francišek, Pecjak, Dr., Gregorij in Snoj, Dr., Andrej, Založil Lavantinski Skofijski Ordinariat V Mariboru (Maribor ,1958)
Vrhovec, Milan Osnove Požarne Samozašcite (Ljubljana, Z ararovalnica Triglav, 1983) ţebetic, Dr., Cedomil, Stajic, Dr., Jovan, Stanojevic, Dr., Slavoljub, ţušic, Augustin, Zaštita Domacih ŽIVOTINJA u Ratu (Beograd, Narodna Armija, 1970)
Jagrovic, Adolf, Rozman, Franc, Vrhovec, Milan in ţtukelj, Polde, Gasikska Zveza Slovenije, I. Prirocnik za Gasilce Tedrija (Ljubljana,Tone Tomšic, 1977)

The room also contained some street wise pointers for political actavists
. These included

1. The middle of the crowd is the safest location. If there is any trouble at the beginning, end or on the peripheries of the crowd, that's where people tend to get hurt or arrested.
2. Sensible shoes are the preferred option, never heels. This is especially true of illegal demonstrations. If the demonstration is charged the protestors may have to run. 3. Seasoned demonstrators tend to wear old practical cloths, this is in case there is trouble at the demonstration where people can get crushed dragged etc.
4. If tear gas is used it stings and burns the eyes, the idea being to immobilise the crowd temporarily. People sometimes carry a scarf to protect the face. 5. It is harder to see missiles being thrown at dusk, especially slates.
6. In Spain marbles were rolled along the streets. Police horses could not avoid them or balance on them. This effectively immobilised the horses.
7. In Italy Anti Globalisation anarchists wear padding made of plastic bottles and cardboard to demonstrations. This gives limited protection to the body in case of confrontation with the police. 86. If ripping down an adversary's poster or leaflet off a wall or hoarding it is best to use a paint scraper and wear gloves. Fascists in the East End of London used to put rusty razor blades under their posters when pasting them up. Anti Fascists got their hands badly cut.