@ Unhomely Home

Mixed-media installation by Office for Cognitive Urbanism (Andreas Spiegl, Christian Teckert) in an empty apartment complex in Wolfsburg Westhagen, as part of to the exhibition “Unhomely Home” curated by Barbara Steiner, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, 2000

A project by Office for Cognitive Urbanism


The increasing number of empty dwellings in Wolfsburg's district Westhagen contributed to bring the whole quarter into "disrepute ". The construction of a negative image via the media then settled facts. The "uncanny" longing of the inhabitants for the political and economic ideal of the single family house was documented in interviews with the tenants still living in the surrounding dwellingsby the Office for Cognitive Urbanism in a sound-installation in three spaces of an empty dwelling in Westhagen. One could enter the empty spaces and had at the same time the feeling of being surrounded by persons just by hearing the voices and memories of the neighbours. In this sense the voices produced a kind of echo from the former inhabitants, who despite their absence still play a role for the remaining tenants. Plan diagrams and a set of bricks refer to the inhabitant's desire to aim at their individual home.  


In the largest area of the dwelling, which is conceived as a living room, a plan diagram was mounted to the wall, which showed a plan for the continuous transformation of the housing estate into a single family house. Technically this suggestion was based on inserting into each diagram of the housing estate and the dis-proportionally increased diagram of a Wolfsburg-single family house. Instead of leaving the empty-standing dwellings empty, this plan suggested to the still there living tenants to transform the housing estate into giantful single family houses. The Office for Cognitive Urbanism limited itself to only a few foundation-stones for the uncanny transformation from the dwelling to the house, which it always already wanted to be for the past years.