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Sascha Reichstein


Be my guest


The image of the hotel room is determined by largely standardised components that are intended to serve the recognition effect and the worldwide standard of the hotel chain. The guest knows what to expect at the Hilton, no matter where in the world he is. Reichstein’s examination of the hotels focuses on the one hand on this recognisability of the spatial structure, which has nothing to do with the place where the hotel is located, and on the other hand on the differences by means of which, despite all adherence to certain standards, one is pointed to the specific place where one is staying. Views through the windows, pictures on the wall function as deliberate stagings of geographical and cultural otherness. How do the representations of difference function and, beyond that, are there further, “unavoidable” or unintended indications of which rooms are in Colombo and which are in Vienna?
The image of the hotel employees is impersonal. They appear largely anonymous and often work in secret. “Be my Guest” takes as its theme the motives for which people work there, what their job means to them and how they are perceived in their social environment. It is based on a series of interviews for which a wide variety of employees – from the management level to the chambermaid – were questioned.

Sascha Reichstein, aus der Serie: »Be My Guest«, 2005, C-Print, 34 x 49 cm

Parallel to the investigation of cultural and economic differences in the context of the global standardisation of the Hiltons, Reichstein explores the significance of the external architectural appearance of Hilton hotels. How did the signs of the capitalist world, the skyscrapers inscribe themselves into the urban landscape of each host country? The Hilton building often represented the first significant expression of modern architecture in countries outside the USA. At the same time, it was the most exclusive hotel. In this respect, Hilton hotels mark the difference between the traditional culture of the countries to be colonised and the ideals of Western-style modernity.
With the end of the Cold War, the Hilton lost its concrete ideological significance as well as its function as an exclusive representative of modernist Western ideas. What are the consequences of this shift and whether or not the