Kati Bruder had very little contact with the other residents in her building, and decided to use her background in professional photography to change that. Her first subject was Heinz, whose habit of leaving his front door ajar made him seem approachable and intriguing. He agreed to let Bruder photograph him from the hallway. Bruder then began to photograph her other neighbors in the same manner, asking them to choose their own placement and pose to allow for a more natural body language. Occasionally her photographic gaze captured several rooms within the apartment, revealing additional layers of her subjects’ lives. The project was a conversation starter and helped the building become a kind of community. Occasionally, Heinz even took care of Bruder’s cats.
Some time later, Bruder read about the Prosfygika refugee housing complex in Athens, and decided to embark on a similar project there. She then continued to photograph more and more housing communities across Europe in what became a personal search for “the ideal community”. She photographed at Gugging, an artists’ house near Vienna for mentally disabled artists; at an institution for homeless alcoholics in Graz, Austria; and in other locations in Vienna, Bucharest and London. Bruder examines the link between social connections and spatial conditions (whether chosen or forced) and the need for an “other” to define the “we”. By maintaining a similar composition and a seemingly-objective distance between herself and her subjects, she creates a fascinating and colorful mosaic of people and communities.
In collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum