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introduction : concept : artistic contributions : symposium
Be my Guest (2005)
Dia-Installation with Sound, 24 min
Sascha Reichstein

For over 50 years, Hilton hotels have been considered an expression of elite Western life-styles. These days, Hiltons are found almost everywhere, in America and in Asia, in Africa as well as in Europe. The image of these hotels is mainly determined by standardized components. The guest knows what to expect from a Hilton, no matter in which part of the world he or she is. Nevertheless, the geographical, cultural and social characteristics of the individual locations are not wholly eliminated.

At the centre of Be My Guest are photographs and interviews, which where taken and recorded at the Hilton Vienna and at the Hilton Colombo. They investigate the relation between recognizable spatial structures and standardized services on the one hand and local features or cultural differences on the other. Views from windows, pictures on walls and various objects in the hotels serve as intended installations of geographic and cultural “difference” and overlap with “unavoidable” or unintended hints as to whether a room is located in Sri Lanka or in Austria.

The members of staff in these hotels normally remain anonymous. They guarantee the international standard and, if they get directly in touch with the guest, become part of the drama that shifts between the familiar and the peculiar. In Be My Guest, their highly different cultural and economic conditions agree in many ways with the brittle architectural and visual representations of international modernity.

Sascha Reichstein, Be My Guest (2005)
View from Hilton, Austria

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