The bench, an apparently small and almost irrelevant object, appears to function as a significant object in both through specific physical placement and in a more general sense—that of the blended domain of aesthetics, garden history, architecture, spatiality and subjectivity. The bench acts as a powerful visual machine, regulating the reception of a landscape in what it has to offer to its visitors. By transmitting verbal messages through inscriptions, citing other benches as part of a complex walk circuit, providing rest and inviting users to discover new aspects of the site, this highly polysemic element orients and disorients the visitor at the same time.
The Bench in the Garden
An Inquiry into the Scopic History of a Bench
The Bench in the Garden, by Michael Jakob, does not simply provide a catalogue of ‘interesting’ benches. Rather, it proposes an interdisciplinary journey toward understanding how benches orient, teach, create emotions, and direct our ‘ways of seeing’ while functioning as an integral garden object.