What could be a more appropriate gift from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs than a piece of the country that it represents? A portion of physical space in the Netherlands.
The project Space To Take Place is a gift from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to its valued foreign contacts. The project focuses on the relationship between donor and recipient in a fresh and original way.
The recipients are given a share in a space in one of the Netherlands’ most striking locations, namely a reserved seat on a 100-metre-long bench in the public space. Individuals as far away as Côte d’Ivoire, Ukraine and China will become the owners of 1/1000th of the bench. Find here a detailed list of the owners [pdf]
Foreign contacts will be presented with a deed of gift in one of over a hundred countries with Dutch diplomatic missions. Through this symbolic gift of real estate, recipients become hosts: they invite others to occupy this place in the Netherlands – a place whose genesis is in part due to them. By indicating and occupying a place and a position, the project creates a new mode of hospitality.
Moreover, this website invites others to participate in the gift: this site is also part of the public domain, extending the notion of shared identity. As a public object, the bench is an open invitation to interact. Visitors can, for instance, upload photographs and films of the bench to communities on other sites, thus generating a corpus of shared material. The added value of this project is that both the bench and the website are collective property as well as functional artistic objects in virtual and real public space.