Where I live
In Where I live/ Wo ich wohne, Susi Jirkuff traces a person’s sudden descent, not only narratively, but also visually, image by image. Right at the start, the protagonist says, “I’ve been living one floor below since yesterday.” But no one around her reacts to this extraordinary situation.
In Jirkuff’s animation, based on a story by Ilse Aichinger (1921–2016), the parts of the house develop a life of their own. Along with the handrail and the wallpaper, even the white drawing surfaces are affected: Jirkuff’s charcoal strokes and the coal dust from Aichinger’s text color them gray (after all, coal is stored in the cellar where the narrating voice ultimately ends up). Here, as previously in Vermessung der Distanz (2019), Susi Jirkuff’s interest is not only in the spatiality of the building, but also the (non-)behavior of the fellow humans. No one asks, “Didn’t you live next door to us just yesterday?”
The story appeared in 1955 in Stillere Heimat, the literary yearbook of the city of Linz. Aichinger had survived the era of national socialist terror in an apartment near the Vienna Gestapo headquarters. The yearned for end of the war did not promise liberation: the same people were sitting in the offices; they talked the same and acted the same. The housing office told the severely depleted family—close family members had been murdered, sister and aunt were able to flee to England: “Sleep in hammocks.” Who really cared about such matters back then. And who’s really concerned about the living situation of endangered people nowadays. (Andreas Dittrich)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
Wo ich wohne
English, English Version