PRINT Summer 2000


Of course, thanks to the house, a great many of our memories are housed, and if the house is a bit elaborate, if it has a cellar and a garret, nooks and corridors, our memories have refuges that are all the more clearly delineated. All our lives we come back to them in our daydreams.

—Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Few things intrigued me more as a kid than the hidden closets and secret passageways found in old houses. The very thought of clandestine nooks and crannies offering a path to who knows where filled me with excitement. When I recently paid a visit to Gregor Schneider’s Dead House ur in the small German town of Rheydt, an hour away from Cologne, that distant sensation—part curiosity, part fear of being trapped in a claustrophobic space—came back in full force. But this place is a bit too much: The building is more labyrinth than house, and the prospect of getting stuck in

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