Come in | outside is a temporary and ‘artificial’ street bench that is placed among banks that are a permanent fixture in the public space. The installation consists of a cabin with an adjustable bench. At the start of their conversation, visitors decide on the length of their bench, and the duration of their conversation. The part of the bench they don’t occupy is slid outwards, which creates another seating space outside. The seating element is connected to the roof of the installation, which means that the amount of light that enters the cabin depends on how much space is used as a seating area. Visitors decide on the length of their conversation by picking one of three wooden lats of different lengths. The longest slat stands for the longest-lasting conversation, even though visitors don’t know what constitutes ‘long’ or ‘short’ exactly. The installation is based on the assumption that all that’s required for a meeting is space, time, and another person.
Come in | outside was commissioned by Van Eyck Mirror, the project bureau of the Van Eyck Academy. There was a need to develop an instrument for the city and its residents to maintain an ongoing dialogue about various topics, including giving inhabitants a say in the city’s cultural policy.
“It became clear almost right away that cities actually already have a designed space where strangers can meet: a city bench. On a street or in a park. So the design for this installation—that had to be mobile—was inspired by a city bench. The biggest difference is the limited and chosen use of space and length of the conversation.”
Milan Meeuse, Van Eyck Mirror, Jan van Eyck academie and Ron Bernstein (Heimo Lab)