Streeeeeet Benches In Bat Yam

Our German colleagues of Rebel Art and Urban Shit report about a great piece of art called ‘Streeeeeet Intervention’. The work was made by the Dutch Artist Vincent Wittenberg and Israeli/Australian artist Guy Köningstein for the International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism 2010 in Bat Yam, Israel. The installation is part of a series of works in which both artists explore the privatization of public space. During their explorations, the artists found out that, on the one hand, the borders of private and public spaces are not really tight and often quite flexible, while, on the other hand, formal rules of ownership are pretty straight. “Many residents do cross the border by claiming public or common space for their own private use. This behavior seems to be peacefully tolerated by the authorities and other residents.”

An interesting phenomenon, explain Wittenberg and Koningstein, are the residents using private chairs to sit on in public space, while public benches are available at the same time. People obviously move along with the sunlight and shadow and try to find the best place under the arcade. With their project the designers advise the municipality of Bat Yam to replace existing public benches with benches that consist of individual seats. Doing so, users will be provided more flexibility.

“The bench itself is a docking station: using a five Shekel coin one can release a seat and place it in a different spot. The deposit is returned when one brings the seat back. The chairs introduced by the municipality cross the border between public and private and move between the sunny sidewalks to the shadow under the arcades.”