“Gstettn”

by Reni Hofmüller, Helene Thümmel, Renate Mihatsch. installation

The Austrian word “Gestettn” describes a free space, a temporarily unused space, usually found in cities, but also in the country side; it indicates a space that was used by humans but currently is out of this use. The installation is a continuing story about unused spaces in both Graz and Brussels, creating a collection of derelict places, and describing what they consist of. The on-going “Gstettn”* story works along the principles of a synecdoche: one discovery can define the whole story, or, the whole story can describe again a small piece in it.

“The project comes from thinking about all sorts of possible green spaces in Graz, the areas that at first sight are not the most wanted ones, but at second sight might be the most interesting spaces one can find in the city. We call them Gstettn, which can be translated as wastelands. You find them in every city. The special thing about them is that they are self-structured based on their history. So it is a kind of plant-growing memory of an area.”

“The material you find in the books and on the wall is the condensed result of 1,5 years of research. We found more than 130 Gstettn in Graz, and then we decided to stop. We made 13 posters, they are the portraits that represent the different types of wasteland. It is one possible filtering in looking at the huge amount of areas in the city that are temporarily not used, or at least their usage is not defined. We will also bring parts of Brussels wasteland into the gallery. “

“During this kind of research you immediately come across the huge variety and diversity of plants and animals. You see the plants that only grow after 5 years that you leave the place alone, the wastelands are the only places where they can grow. Actually these temporarily non-used spaces are for us the most interesting green areas in the city.”

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