bench invasion


I am an artist with my own stand / tribune, consisting of several benches. 
Due to Covid there was a long time that I could not play and had no audience.
Therefore, I decided to go into town with a bench, a part of my stand.
Now my audience wasn’t sitting on it but I was. Being present.

Soon I learned that so many people want to tell their stories to someone who has time to listen.
And so, I listened to many great stories, but I also met many people in misery.
To me, it became clear that our society is missing something.
And that something is time, attention, kindness and presence.

Up to now, for several months I have walked around with my bench.
But now I feel it is time to do this together with other people.
The idea is that, before I arrive,
10 people from the community where I come are invited to join me on my walk with the bench.
10 people who are willing to participate in the project and help carry it literally and figuratively. 
Together with them, each with a bench under their arm, we move into the public space. 
In a busy place, such as a large square, we build the benches. Unannounced.
We wait, we sit.
If no one comes to sit with us, we invite people to come and sit next to us. 
We are simply present, listening. 

At the end, we all come together: the bearers of the benches and the sitters. 
Bystanders are also invited.
We convert the benches into 1 long table in the public space…

Central themes are (re)connecting people, being present and celebrating, all happening in the public space.


Idea: Dieter Missiaen en Els Degryse
Many thanks to Perplx, Miramiro, CirkLabo, Uitwijken – Brugge Plus, Perplx, Miramiro, CirkLabo, Te Gek!?, Craig Weston, Sander Decuyper, Gwendolien Sabbe, CC De Spil Roeselare, Centre des arts de Rue – Ath, L’attitude 50.