siehe daHeimo Zobernig

siehe da

The fact that land belongs to someone seems so self-evident to us today that we may not be aware that this was not always the case. On the contrary, it took an enormous intellectual effort on the part of the emerging advanced civilizations in the transition from nomadism to sedentarism to even conceive of something like individual "ownership" of a general basis of life such as "land."

As the Italian philosopher Donatella Di Cesare has recently shown, the consequences were epoch-making: with the invention of corresponding rules, such as those prototypically produced by Roman law, not only did an immobile commodity like land become tradable and thus, as it were, mobile, but its respective owners became legal persons in the true sense of the word. At the same time, this moment also marks the birth of the nation-state, which guarantees the enforceability of these new property rights and, conversely, lays claim to the entire territory within its borders. In contrast to similarly vital elements such as water and air, states have long since succeeded in appropriating virtually the entire surface of the earth and dividing it among themselves, with the result that no white spots remain. In their close linkage of land and citizenship, however, legal systems have created their own pariahs in the form of the stateless and dispossessed. The majority of migrants also belong to this group, because they have drawn a bad lot in the lottery of citizenships, which is usually linked to their place of birth, if precarious conditions prevail there and they therefore want to or have to leave it.

Even today, an estimated 50 to 250 million people live nomadic lives, largely unnoticed. Indeed, one characteristic of this way of life is its "light touch" towards the environment, i.e. its minimally invasive, temporary use that hardly causes any side effects or leaves any traces.

Heimo Zobernig's intervention siehe da has a similar "light touch". On one of Austria's busiest, highest-turnover and, in terms of real estate prices, most expensive shopping streets, a 30-square-meter rectangular area of the ground is succinctly painted white, thus leaving a space free in the inner-city Monopoly for once. The abstract, monochrome painting marks the greatest possible contrast to the ambience, which is characterized by the struggle for attention, and as a largely barrier-free, low-threshold zone, in contrast to the rest of the urban infrastructure, makes no stipulations regarding its use.

The question "Who owns public space?" has often been discussed by "art in public space projects". siehe da, on the other hand, is more fundamentally interested in what "ownership" actually means, especially of a fundamental, planetary resource that the respective owners did not produce themselves.

The white rectangle on Mariahilfer Straße will have disappeared completely after exactly twelve months, and the artwork will become neither state nor private property. During this time, however, it may also serve passers-by as a testing ground for imagining and trying out a world that is characterized less by property and status and more by the ideas of hospitality and a sense of community.

(Christian Muhr)


Mariahilfer Str. 69, 1060 Vienna

Further Information

Heimo Zobernig *1958 (A), lives in Vienna


siehe daHeimo Zobernig

Time Period

June 7th 2023 until June 2024

U3 Neubaugasse

Education - Events


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