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The House is a mobile cinematic sculpture temporarily installed in public places throughout the city with a view to making the living situations of migrants (both inside and outside Europe) more visible. Although an increasingly common phenomenon, the living situations of migrants are routinely hidden from public view. Moving images of urban places in Stockholm are projected onto the walls and ceilings of The House. 

A Place in Europe, Sketch by Detail Group of The House, Medborgarplatsen, Stockholm, 2016.

A Place in Europe was initiated by artist Cecilia Parsberg[1], who then invited filmmaker Erik Pauser[2], dancer Anna Westberg[3] and the architects in Detail Group[4] to collaborate.

  1. Synopsis
  2. Artist’s intention and rationale
  3. Background – how the project A Place in Europe starts
  4. Phase 1, method
  5. Phase 2, the staged work to be developed and realized

A Place in Europe, Stockholm, 2016.

  1. Synopsis

A Place in Europe, Stockholm, 2016.

The place is demarcated by a highway, a large new development,[5] and some rocky hills with a grove of trees. Above are elevated subway tracks. The place is relatively low in the context of the surrounding urban landscape, and therefore not easily visible to passers by.  The surrounding borders of the built environment create a triangle within which a sort of state of exception seems to be in effect — at least for some of those who live there. Of the three five-story buildings here, two are empty and sealed up. Although the buildings are apparently slated for demolition, the timing (according to the city planners office) remains unclear. It is a place in central Stockholm where a few hundred people live, work, and circulate. Some people come from various countries in and outside Europe, some are Swedish citizens. They’ve come here for different reasons, albeit united in the hope of a more successful life. Some are doing short-term work in accordance the convention of free movement of persons in the EU, others are simply  sleeping here temporarily. It is a place in transition. There are many similar places in Europe. Moreover, they are becoming increasingly common. But it’s also a place we’ve seen at earlier points in Swedish history during large waves of migration. It is for this reason that this investigation touches down in a place like this, in this place.

In December 2015 Cecilia Parsberg got financial support for a pilot study for A Place in Europe (Phase 1). The idea was to find other competences within the arts to collaborate with in order to find ways to approach the inherent complexity of this issue.[6] Dancer Anna Westberg and film maker Erik Pauser both joined, and over a period of four months documented what was happening, and made interviews and a series of performances at the site. In the fall 2016, the architects Detail Group joined the team of A Place in Europe. Subsequently, a strategy for screening the films was developed with a view to including this urban space in the city with The House. Consequently, Detail Group made 3D sketches suitable for various public places.

A Place in Europe, Sketch by Detail Group of The House, Stureplan, Stockholm, 2016.

Our cinematic sculpture is perhaps best imagined as a re-creation of the emptied buildings in this place. A house that no longer has a function, that will be demolished or rebuilt,  corresponding with The House tilting into the ground. Like some of the boats containing migrants in the Mediterranean that are manifestly ill-equipped to actually carry people, the Swedish regulatory system is incapable of taking care of people who come here (let alone the EU regulatory system).  European societies appear incapable of transforming existing structures to meet the need. The moving images projected onto the walls and roof of The House will be edited rhythmically with words and statistics, and the audio  processed with music elements. A place in Europe can be set up anywhere. And we will be there responding to public reactions to the project.


  1. Artist’s intention and rationale

This is not conceived as an exclusive work but rather a demonstrably inclusive (albeit resistant to the logic of circular reproduction). Within the process of artistic research and a developing practice, new methods might constitute another form of art. The project is centered upon the idea of a round table at which a number of competences might productively collaborate to build the project. The divergent competences that make up the project team should all contribute to the development of A Place in Europe, and moreover, work to challenge respective practices and forms of knowledge in order to foster a spirit of experimentation and novelty. Comment from Anna: “In this project I have initially discussed how the concept social choreography can be used, both in social structures and within social interaction. In addition, and as a reflection of the general thoughts that have risen when spending time at this place, I have developed some different short performances in front of the camera.” For Erik: ”I have approached the project and the collaboration based on my experience as a producer and director for the last ten years of documentary films for international TV channels such as ZDF, Arte, BBC, DR, NRK, YLE, IKON, NHK, SABC, SBS, PBS and others, this collaboration has especially opened up for a rethinking of communications around how social issues can be presented in a work of art in a direct meeting in this kind of screening – with an audience that is ‘temporary’”. From the perspective of Detail Group: ”We are architects not just whose task is to find solutions, but also artists and want to be part of making visible and reflect on what is happening when society changes.” The key point of departure for all collaborators is the value of approaching the topic from a creative base, and in doing so strive to productively exchange ideas with those both at the site and within the process of developing the project and presentation. We are also collectively mindful of the potentially asymmetrical power relations at play in any process during which ”we film and interact with them”. We don’t seek to speak for ”them” but rather use our collective desire to explore a more inclusive society.

A Place in Europe has assumed a political form right through from conception to realization. The artistic research is responsive to current policy. The motivation of the project team is to participate in the discourse on migration and the city as a space for (in)justice. With The House, we seek to trigger discussions that might culminate in workshops, seminars and other forms of open discussions with a broad public, and by extension, with different fields of knowledge. Accordingly, we seek to think together. Much research on urbanity concerns how the city changes in response to social life.[7] In visualizing what is happening in this between-space, and by extension that which is not functioning, we seek to open up a space for action.


  1. Background – A Place in Europe [8]

There are three five-story buildings, two of them are empty and sealed up. When I search the city planners office for plans I find that the buildings are slated for demolition, but it doesn’t say when. I visit the place at the bottom the bottom of the slope that leads down to the middle house there are two campers, but there are no people visible nearby. I ask a construction worker passing by if he knows if anyone lives there. We speak English, each with our own accent. Yes, he’s seen people come out of them around six o’clock in the morning, he doesn’t know where they’re from because he’s never spoken with them. He tells me there are several other similar encampments around here.

A Place in Europe, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

“A few live over there.” He points behind him.

“Where are you from?” I ask.

“From Portugal, I work there,” he says and nods down the road to where a biomass power plant is being built. I go where he pointed. On the far end of the third five-story building there are two steel doors. The left door leads to a temporary shelter in the basement with about thirty beds, operated by the City Mission. I meet a few thirty-something men from Guinea.

“Wow, there are a lot of you living here”

We go and look for work in the morning then we come back here. They gesture behind them and I see seven men exit a basement door to go smoke. One sits down, there’s only one chair. Several of them have come here through the convention of free movement of persons in the EU, others are from countries outside of Europe.

The two of us have residency permits in Portugal.

“How long have you been here?”

“Two months”

They’re happy to talk to me but don’t want me to photograph them, say where they live, or give their names.

The steel door to the right leads to Convictus shelter for the homeless. Nina, who is the director at Convictus Bryggan tells me that during the coldest half of the year they only accept women at night and men in the daytime. Most of the women are from Romania and Bulgaria and have come here to beg. The men spend their evenings and nights recycling cans or doing various kinds of day labor. Just ten years ago middle-aged Swedish men with addiction issues were the biggest group at the shelter, today most are “third country nationals,” usually from North and West Africa.[9] A similar number are from Eastern Europe, mainly Romania.[10] Those who stay here have “fallen through the cracks” between the structural exclusion and inclusion mechanisms of the system.

A Place in Europe, ”Womens night” at Convictus, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg. 2016.

Every morning at half past six the doors open and a long trail of humans wander off with their belongings in blue Ikea bags. They’re going to the city to seek work, beg, and perhaps look for a different place to sleep, there is a lot of pressure on the shelters. At the same time about a hundred construction workers arrive at another entrance to the same building. They soon emerge again, wearing bright green and yellow vests, orange or red helmets. Those who haven’t gotten work stand around smoking, waiting their turn.

A Place in Europe, Filmstills by Erik Pauser, 2016.

On the way back I see a van, the side door has been taken off it and is leaned up against it. After ascertaining that nobody’s there I raise my camera above the door and shoot. I look at the image; people are sleeping here too.[11] I ask a worker locking up the car next to me if he knows anything, but no, he has no idea what country the owners of the car are from, he says in a neutral tone. He’s from Poland.

A Place in Europe, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg. 2016

The transformation of the space

In and around the middle one of the three shuttered buildings, there is artistic activity – a self-organized cluster of artists have intervened in the environment with their art. A new overpass has been built behind the buildings, far too close. There’s a loading dock along the back of the House. With the arrival of the overpass there’s no longer enough space to drive vehicles up to it for loading. But the overpass provides shelter to some. Next to the concrete wall they’ve made themselves sleeping places out of wooden pallets. They make their beds there every night. The location is secluded and they can sleep there relatively unbothered, a few security guards on patrol are the only people with a view of their open bedroom, and the guards appear to accept their presence. I’ve seen many similarly furnished, organized sleeping places in central Stockholm. There are about ten sections under the loading dock and I can glimpse rolled-up mattresses, clothes, and blankets under most of them. In one of these encampments several shoes are lined up.

A Place in Europe, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg, 206.

In the five-story building next to the loading dock there are about thirty rooms on each floor. In here, as well as outside, artists have created a series of pieces. If they’d wanted and tried to get in, the homeless people might have found the ladder that the artists had hidden and seen that the window on the second floor can be opened. But they don’t seem to think along those lines. The begging people I’ve previously spoken with say that they don’t want to bother anyone, they want to live an orderly life, they don’t want to break rules and ordinances they want a home and a job. And the same is probably true of most of those who come here looking for work. They don’t want to be out there, but they don’t want to be in there either.

Outside the buildings a kind of bare life is underway[12] and inside one of the buildings as well as outside there’s a kind of artistic activity. The transformation of the space is giving rise to both these activities. Urban spaces – that aren’t included in urban planning, and are still constituted in the city by people, such as the places, sleeping places, closets of begging – are not a representation of something, they are a political form in and of themselves. What forces are at work in this liminal space?

A Place in Europe, “Because it never ends” Paintings by AKAY and KlisterPeter, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

When structures change voids – anomies – can emerge, fictions are created in anomies. For whom, for what, is this art made? How is this art connected to the (transmission of) meaning and content?[13] Two of the artists, claim when we talk about their art that they give without expecting anything in return. It seems to me that their idea of what art is unites them; with friendship, trust, they make art alone and together with other artists that come there.

The method is performative.[14] “Performance resists the balanced calculations of finance. It saves nothing, it only spends,”[15] writes Peggy Phelan. But this isn’t a wasteful resistance, not consumption with the ulterior motive of accumulation, but a lusty transgression.[16] Another thing that makes this art interesting is that the artists don’t work alone, other artists are active here, nor do they work as a group. “Individual genius is not the origin of culture,” as Rasmus Fleischer and Samira Ariadad write in their essay “Att göra gemensamma rum” [Creating common spaces].[17] They describe a system that has embraced the liberal idea that the private and the public are opposites, and that income for sustenance is won and communities found through a dialectical struggle. But what’s in between, in the act of giving without getting anything in return; these artists are well aware that they won’t make a livelihood off their work. “The aesthetic economy is always dependent on a border between the internal and the external (the frame as an on the side of, outer-work, parergon) that neither belongs to the internal nor the external, and that can be understood as a framing effect that always remains unstable: the frame is always about to crack, at the same time as it can never completely fall away, and de-framing and framing are like two vectors, the interplay of which constitutes the dynamics of the aesthetic field, and where one will always refer to the other,”[18] as Sven-Olof Wallenstein puts it.

A Place in Europe, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

The question remains, what kind of place is this? The fact that the area is under surveillance means that the area is a place in some sense. It’s not an obvious non-place, since the surveillance makes it a place in some sense. Those I’ll speak to half a year later – the cleaning firm that participates in evictions – calls places like this X-places, but the people who work at the shelters don’t like that, the situation here is their existence, their reality. That’s also why it isn’t a “non-place” in anthropologist Marc Agué’s sense where the place is contracted and the person becomes anonymous through the nature of the place.[19] This place is also populated by people, the shelters, the encampments; people who use it in various ways, the workers’ locker- and break-rooms. Thomas and Samuel have lived under the loading dock for two and a half years. It’s something between a place and a non-place. It’s a liminal space that could be described as “vague terrain” – a designation for unproductive, undefined places that have been abandoned, often placed between exploited productive places in a city.[20] But that’s not quite right either, this area isn’t abandoned and will be populated, it is populated and activated. It’s not a place in transition but a place that is waiting – a waiting place – the condition of the place creates the conditions for art because perhaps this is exactly what makes it attractive for artists to claim. They encroach on such places.[21] The artists ponder the place while they create – with their images they reflect upon what’s going on here and in that way they also indirectly relate to the migrants and guest workers that populate the place. (And perhaps the condition of the place even dictates the practice of an [unknown] number of artists.)

  1. Phase 1 –  method

I too encroach on it together with the filmmaker Erik Pauser and the dancer and choreographer Anna Westberg with funding from Kulturbryggan. We want to make visible this place, the people and their living conditions. But our work emerges in a different way, we have a different method, but we plug into the art of the other artists since it will appear in images and recordings. We too create activity in this place, which demands that we connect to the people who live and work here, and negotiate which images should be made visible. In this sense the place is a space for negotiation. When different realities meet negotiations arise between different parties that inhabit a place, the homeless, artists, workers, guards, property owners, when abandoned or soon to be demolished houses are used in ways other than those planned or expected. The place as political form poses questions of when and between which logics and parties negotiations will be initiated, how and over what. Which parties will participate? It’s a place waiting to be made visible.

A Place in Europe, Photo by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

We begin with talking to the people and keep going here during spring 2016. We film the area and meet people, and make a series of performances which we film.

A Place in Europe,  Photo by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

Where the docks used to be there are now two shacks. Two men walk toward me. We greet and strike up a conversation; they’re from Algeria. One of them, who I speak English with, shows his residency card from Spain, he can live there for twelve years. His family is there and they live in a house, but he lost his job and came here a few weeks ago to try to find a livelihood and now lives in a shack that he’s built himself.

“It’s not human to live like this,” he says and shows.

“It’s getting cold.”

“Yes, I’m going to Spain soon, I give up, you can’t get work here without a personal identification number and I don’t want to do what the Romanians do – they beg, I’d never do that.”

A Place in Europe, Photos by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

The need and necessity is visible and raw.

A Place in EuropeRobert from Rumania, Photo by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016

It takes time to build trust, we spend a lot of time and slowly we get to the various meetings. The project takes shape through the places and the people who are here to show the way. We speak to among others Thomas, 45, who has a residency permit and two jobs but is homeless and living under loading dock of the House. Samuel, 35, does too. He is homeless and undocumented from Ghana/Togo. And Albert, from Nigeria who has a residency permit and a job. Leonas from Lithuania has lost his passport and his cellphone and is living in the yard. Mohamed is from Libya and has had a residency permit for eight years, he can only find temporary work, usually off the books and lives in one of the shacks under the freeway. Said, 38, from Morocco, who’s just gotten his personal identification number and begun taking Swedish classes for immigrants lives in the shack across the way. Maria, a begging person from Romania who sleeps at the shelter sometimes. We speak with Arne who has had homes and been homeless and now manages daytime activities at Convictus, and with Michaela from Romania who works with the women’s night operations, as well as Nina from Finland (the director at Convictus). We also speak to a few workers from Poland and from Ireland, and one foreman from Sweden. But neither the management company for the House, the cleaning company, nor the owners of the alarm company – all established businesses in Sweden want to talk to us.

A Place in Europe, Eviction of those who live under the House’s loading dock. Stockholm, June, 9, Filmstill by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016.

It is an afternoon in June, A truck, dumpsters, the cleaning company, the alarm company, the House management, and the police arrive. They clear all encampments on the property, including those under the loading dock behind the House and Leonas’ home under the bike shack. But not the other shacks around, because they’re on land that belongs to the transportation authorities and the City of Stockholm. Those who tear out and throw away other people’s personal effects don’t want to be filmed and try to stop us, but since we are standing on ground owned by the City of Stockholm we can film what’s going on. Those who are doing the cleaning especially don’t like us filming, even after we’ve explained that we are not focusing on faces, but what they’re doing. They react strongly and emotionally. Two policemen are emotional too and want to stop me, while another policeman comes up and asks why and wants to listen. The homeless whose temporary homes are being put in the dumpster want us to film and they tell their stories in front of the camera.

A Place in Europe, Photo by Anna Westberg, 2016.

Lives that have been separated – by an imagined structure – can also be connected – by a lived structure – but not without hope of something else.

This is how Hannah Arendt describes the phenomenon of houses: “It implies ‘housing somebody’ and being ‘dwelt in’ as no tent could house or serve as a dwelling place which is put up today and taken down tomorrow. The word house, Solon’s ‘unseen measure,’ ‘holds the limit of all things’ pertaining to dwelling; it is a word that could not exist unless one presupposes thinking about being housed, dwelling, having a home. As a word house is a shorthand for all these things.”[22] Hannah Arendt writes of thinking that a meaning can be reclaimed by contemplating a word: “The word house is something like a frozen thought that thinking must unfreeze, defrost as it were, whenever it wants to find its original meaning.”[23] And this place waiting for transformation is a frozen thought in the middle of Stockholm. In some ways disconnected from, but still linked to, the prevailing social structure.

In this place waiting for transformation, there are hopes.[24] In those who come to seek work in Sweden and try to get residency permits and personal identification numbers, in the homeless who build themselves temporary shacks, in those who come to beg, in those who come to work at Sweden’s largest biomass power plant, in those who work for the aid organizations – civil society’s organized support for the homeless and others who “fall through the cracks”, in the older couple in one of the campers whose son got a job in Stockholm, in the construction company that has gotten a demolition permit for the buildings, but no permit for a new building, in the artists to continue creating, in the person who with a repetitive motion reaches out a hand waiting for a response and hopes that this response will mark the start of a negotiation.

A Place in Europe, Photo by Cecilia Parsberg, 2016

The films produced in Phase 1 are based on dialogue with the people at site during a month spread over four months. It is usually a time demanding process to connect with people—especially with those who are in a vulnerable situation. We provided a clear statement as to why we wanted to film them and their situation and why we sought to do so through art. We said: ”We want to visualize this place because people don’t know about this life situation of yours. This is a place which we can find anywhere in Europe. In Sweden it represents a paradigm shift; less than a decade ago the Swedish homeless fell outside the social welfare program because of substance abuse and mental health problems and today poor European migrants, overseas migrants and refugees is a dominant part. Temporary camps, like at this place, have sprung up. Migration processes are present almost daily in the media and in the political debate. However, it’s often based on theories about what is going on, it needs to be shown because it’s invisible to people, they have to see it. Would you like to be part of making this visualised?” We filmed only those who agreed.

  1. Phase 2, the staged work to be developed and realized[25]:
  • The House. From thinking ”film-installation” together with architects we – the project team – have developed sketches of a ”cinematic sculpture”. The films are backprojected from inside the house on to the plexi-plastic walls and roof. We see The House as a mobile social image, the house is turned over, dives into the ground. The House will make visible the urban place and the hidden situation. It will be set up temporarily, with or without authorization. The House can also be placed indoors in an exhibition or outside an institution during a period.
  • An essay on the research subject and context. As well as work method: if we are to be able to discuss the ethical – which is necessitated by the political – the process needs to be made visible as well as the result, that is to say the method that is developed.[26]
  • A workshop to catch up the audience, those who want to engage further, and this can be combined with public seminars with participants from different fields such as politicians, activists, researchers. An intensive housing construction is underway in Sweden – for whom are the houses built and which are considered in this process?


A Place in Europe, Sketch by Detail Group of The House, The Swedish Parliament, Stockholm, 2016.

Contact: Cecilia Parsberg, Doctor of Philosophy in Fine Arts in Visual Arts, Lund Univeristy.


Supported by

Birgit and Gad Rausings Stiftelse för Humanistisk Forskning




[1] In 2015 I wrote the last chapter – Chapter 9: A place in Europe – in my doctoral thesis in Fine Arts digitally published on In the spring 2015 I applied for support to start up an art project based on this research.


[3] ask for separate CV


[5] A new biomass power plant is being built. Fortum is investing five billion Swedish Kronor, which is the largest industrial investment in Sweden, it will be fueled using byproducts from the logging industry.
“Tillsammans skapar vi en grönare stad”. Accessed July 26, 2016.

[6] Kulturbryggan startstöd omgång 11, SS11 – 5601, nov 2015. Kulturbyggan is administrated by Swedish Arts Grants Committee to support innovative art and development of methodology in Fine Arts.

[7] Which in part is what concerns Cecilia Parsberg’s doctoral thesis:

[8] A full length version can be read and viewed in Chapter 9 of Direct link

[9] One of them is Thomas from Ghana, he is a former soldier, who moved to Italy and got work and a residency permit — but when the situation became too difficult he came to Sweden where he now has a residency permit. He’s been living outside, under the loading dock behind the House for two and a half years. Thomas distributes advertising between two a.m. and nine a.m. then goes to Convictus, eats, takes a shower, sometimes he does laundry there. He is one of those who wants to tell his story for the camera and comes up to us when he’s seen that we’ve been back every week or so for the past three months, to film the area and try to talk to people.

[10] “Convictus Bryggan Hjorthagen”. Accessed July 26, 2016,

[11] I don’t think it’s okay to photograph other people’s bedrooms without their permission, but in this situation my assessment is that it’s more important to show how people live here. The photograph is an example of one of the ethics-aesthetics negotiations that constantly arise – decisions that must be made quickly and on site. When I include this photo with my shadow I also want to show a transgression of a limit in which I am putting the viewer’s trust in my images at risk. At times I misjudge, I encourage reflection on the part of the reader and viewer. The discussion about the ethical must be kept open.

[12] “But in every judicial order there is an exception from order that in a kind of paradox regulates what applies when no order applies, in the state of exception. There the sovereign becomes precisely a sovereign again – and accordingly the citizen is reduced to a bare life. Agamben’s thesis is that this is ‘ultimate foundation of political power’ and thus the political essence that precedes every social contract.” writes Ola Sigurdson, professor of religious studies and systemic theology at the University of Gothenburg, in an article about philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s book Homo Sacer.
Ola Sigurdson, “Agamben visar hur kulturen inkräktar på livet”, Svenska Dagbladet, August 23, 2010. Accessed July 26, 2016,

[13] Art critic Fredrik Svensk expresses the importance of constantly trying to understand in the face of what images art is made and can be made: “Because aren’t mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion that take place mainly on a sensual basis far more important to understand today than those that happen through a conventional politics of selection and representation?” A review of the Nordic pavilion in Venice 2015.
Frederik Svensk, “Paviljongen som exklusiv symfoniorkester”, Kunstkritikk, May 14, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2016,

[14] “Thus while performance can be understood as a deliberate ‘act’ such as in theatre production, performance art or painting by a subject or subjects, performativity must be understood as the iterative and citational practice that brings into being that what it names.” writes Barbara Bolt, on page 134, referring to Judith Butler. “Butler is very clear that performativity involves repetition rather than singularity. Performativity is ‘not a singular act for it is always a reiteration of a norm or set of norm, and to the extent that it acquires an act-like status in the present, it conceals or dissimulates the conventions of which it is a repetition.’” Barbara Bolt, “Artistic Research: A performative paradigm?” PARSE, No. 3 (2016). Accessed August 6, 2016,

[15] Phelan, Peggy, Unmarked: the politics of performance, New York: Routledge, 1993, 148.

[16] Michael Richardson writes, in his interpretation of philosopher George Bataille:
“If we stick to facts capitalism doesn’t escape the dialectical logic of Bataille: It consumes, and consumes just as meaninglessly, just as wastefully as any other society. What capitalism is lacking isn’t the consumption but every kind of lusty transgression. When we waste we do it grudgingly, all the time and with an ulterior motive of ultimately accumulating.” Michael Richardson, Georges Bataille. (New York: Routledge, 2005), 79.

[17] “Individual genius is not the origin of culture, as the tenacious myth of the originator without communities would have it. These communities too need to happen, especially in the gray areas, like rehearsal spaces. According to a liberal view on culture, ‘culture’ is something free floating – culture doesn’t need to happen and it doesn’t need community.” Samira Ariadad and Rasmus Fleischer, “Att göra gemensamma rum”, Brand, No. 1 (2010), 44–6. Accessed July 7, 2016,

[18] Ibid., 59.

[19] Marc Augé, Non-Places: An Introduction to Anthropology of Supermodernity, (New York: Verso, 1995), 101. Accessed July 26, 2016,

[20] Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Catalan architect, historian and philosopher, coined the term terrain vague, applied to abandoned, obsolete and unproductive areas, with no clear definitions and limits. See: “Ignasi de Solà-Morales”, Wikipedia. Accessed July 26, 2016,à-Morales. Accessed November 6, 2016.

“With the coining of the term Terrain Vague, Ignasi de Solà-Morales is interested in the form of absence in the contemporary metropolis. This interest focuses on abandoned areas, on obsolete and unproductive spaces and buildings, often undefined and without specific limits, places to which he applies the French term terrain vague. Regarding the generalized tendency to ‘reincorporate’ these places to the productive logic of the city by transforming them into reconstructed spaces, Solà-Morales insists on the value of their state of ruin and lack of productivity. Only in this way can these strange urban spaces manifest themselves as spaces of freedom that are an alternative to the lucrative reality prevailing in the late capitalist city. They represent an anonymous reality.”

“Terrain Vague”, Atributos Urbanos. Accessed July 26, 2016, Accessed November 6, 2016.

[21] “A gradual advance beyond usual or acceptable limits: urban encroachment of habitat.” “Encroachment”, Oxford Dictionaries. Accessed July 26, 2016, Accessed November 6, 2016.

[22] Hannah Arendt, “Thinking and Moral Considerations: A Lecture”, Social Research, Vol. 38, No. 3, (Autumn 1971), 430–1. Accessed July 29, 2016,

[23] The sentence continues “In medieval philosophy this kind of thinking was called meditation, and the word should be heard as different from, even opposed to, contemplation.” Ibid, 431.

[24] Every year the Stockholm region grows by 35,000 inhabitants. The number comes from information about Värta and Hjorthagen where this place-non-place is located. “Vi bygger om Värtahamnen”. Accessed July 26, 2016,

[25]  Finances yet to be covered. To be part of financing this project, please contact:

[26] The essay is engaged from, and a continuation of, Cecilia Parsbergs’s last chapter – Chapter 9. A Place in Europe – in her doctoral thesis

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For more information, please contact Sean Lowry

Project Anywhere (2012-23) was proudly supported as part of a partnership between the Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne) and Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology (Parsons School of Design, The New School).

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