Broken Windows

Series: Artistic exploration of broken windows theory.

[:de]Neues Buch von Various & Gould: „Permanently Improvised – 15 Years of Urban Print Collage“, Berlin 2019[:en]New book by Various & Gould: “Permanently Improvised – 15 Years of Urban Print Collage”, Berlin 2019[:]








Broken Windows – Bahnhofshaus Ostkreuz, Berlin 2019, aerosol on canvas

Destruction as a starting
point for creativity

Various & Gould started working on “Broken Windows” in 2015. This ongoing series refers to the same-titled theory by the American social scientists Wilson and Kelling (1982) stating that a broken window of an abandoned building acts as the trigger for the general increase in crime in the neighborhood.

The theory set the foundation for the zero tolerance strategy which led to increased police presence and rigorous prosecution of petty offences.

Various & Gould utilizes broken, partly self-struck windows in empty buildings as templates for their canvases. By using semitransparent spray paint, the hole in the glass is forming a superposition of abstract shapes on the canvas. As in theory, broken windowpanes form the starting point for development, whereby the destruction act of demolition is converted into a constructive work and a metaphor for the emergence of creative processes in the urban context.


Broken Windows im VantagePoint-Podcast



“In Berlin, the artist duo Various & Gould have been exploring what might happen if the panes of glass in a derelict building are used as elements within artworks and if breaking the glass is part of the artistic process. The artists throw stones at the glass, which shatters; instead of seeing the result as damaged, they treat it like a stencil. Paint can be sprayed through the hole in the glass onto canvas; layers of broken windows create multilayered abstract shapes. The smashed glass accumulates in piles of translucent segments: not uncleared detritus, as the broken windows theory would have it, but sculptural reworkings within a space.”

Alison Young, publicist and professor of criminology, quote from the book Various & Gould: Permanently Improvised, 2019