Benedikt Steiner


Turning a Space into a Place


Juli 2022
Sasso Residency (Vairano, CH)

Model for a Temporary Form of Dwelling

1. Getting afflicted by a certain space, by its aura. For example an old parking lot for vacation guests next to the winding road in the hills. A rough space, a space with patina; stone sand grass concrete. A rather undefined and open space when empty. Partly overgrown. A space nobody seems to take care of, most of the times abandoned; apart and offside, already since long inhabited by time rather than cars.

2. Starting to regularly spend time at the site, getting a feeling for that specific space. For example on early summer evenings when the light slowly softens. Looking around. Realizing what’s already there, how little has to be added. Picking up a metal profile somebody has left there years ago. Filling it with sand, closing its ends with pieces of wood, placing it on the ground – just like that.

3. Bringing some wooden battens the next day and building a simple frame; putting it on that strange little platform; filling it with sand too – just like that. No name for it, no specific use. Simply a gesture that seems appropriate at this moment. Somebody might think it’s a bird toilet, someone else might read it as a sacrificial site and eventually put a dead bee on it.

4. Bringing a broom the next day, wiping the place. Perceiving the change that occurred through these little gestures. Enjoying the newly emerged place; lingering. Filling the crumbled parts of the concrete ground with pebbles. Carefully. One by one, being aware that this is already enough of intervening. Contemplating. Taking care of the existing rather than producing additional things. Wiping the place again (each of these gestures happens without knowing how long the new order will last).

5. Assuming some of the people in cars and busses passing by are watching. Maybe they smile, maybe they don’t understand. Greeting the people coming up the stairs from the lakeside. Continuing with the work. Recognizing the same wasp chasing you as in the previous days; hearing the river beneath and feeling the presence of the nearby chestnut tree.

Material: aluminium profiles, wood, sand, stones
Installation View: Benedikt Steiner, 2022