June 2022
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Loop Bench

Sitting on a public bench is anything but easy. It may appear to have been provided for your convenience, yet taking up a position always requires negotiation with both the structure itself and neighbouring inhabitants. Should you be lucky enough to find it empty, you still have to choose how best to place yourself to discourage others. Benches seem to offer a moment of respite, but the reality demands continued involvement with the unspoken etiquette of the streets you are trying to escape. Hein’s bench undercuts the cocoon we vainly try to construct around ourselves when out in public. His benches are designed to make unvoiced codes visible, and to generate a series of encounters which prompt us to resist the urge to extend private territory into public space. Hein’s work is sometimes described as ‘interactive’. Yet his real interest lies not in creating objects with which to interact, but in the power of that initial engagement to ripple out beyond the work itself to create new interactions with and in public space. Hein transforms the bench from a place of individual retreat from which to watch the world go by into a performative stage where the passing world views us united in a communal obstacle course. Sorcha Carey

Project Credits Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial International 06 Supported by Northwest Regional Development Agency, Embassy of Denmark, Goethe-Institut, Manchester


16 September – 26 November 2006