The urban organization of the small town of Schöppingen, in northwestern Germany, has remained the same as in the days of its establishment, since the 14th century. Houses are precisely located, archetypes with slight modifications: a two-story house, a tiled roof, a fence, a garden - a guiding resemblance to the way of life of a community that seeks identification and closeness between their members. However, as the sun sets, the streets are emptied into an active wilderness, into a stay in a space where each of the tenants has been exiled to a private, domestic, hidden life, with a continuous disappearance.
Architecture, Virilio explains, has the ability to define a unity of time and place for everyday activities. "We tend to forget that before there was an assembly of techniques designed to shelter us from the ravages of the weather, architecture was an instrument of measurement, a total of enabling knowledge, relating to the natural environment and organizing the space and time of human societies."1
The word "home" evokes a wide variety of feelings, memories, and associations. In the physical sense the house is the place which we leave and to which we return. In the metaphorical sense, "home" is also our experience of ourselves and a constant factor in our identity.
'Unheimlich' is an adjective in German, which combines the term home (Heim) with the prefix 'Un', which is used for negation. This combination implies the connection of the home to experiences of horror and foreignness ...
Schöppingen is a body of work in which Eli Singalovski is attempting to examine the probability of existence of uninviting architecture and the notion of the "unhomely home".
Text by Ilanit Konopny (excerpt).
1 Paul Virilio, The Critical Space (translation: Orit Rosen), Tel Aviv: Resling Publishing, 2006, p. 35.