Biné Rodenberger has once again been busy with her home region of Binemust, building a new space for people to explore. Whilst the ground level retains the layout based on the Bungenäs region of Gotland, Sweden’s largest island – and which I visited last September – the winter sky platform that was present at the end of 2020 (see here for more) has been replaced by a setting that offers a mix of of dystopia, sci-fi and fantasy, all sitting with a landscape that has a touch of an alien feel to it.
A strange and barren place where no plant can grow, but where people of all shapes and sizes can enjoy art, culture and good take-away.
Biné Rodenberger, describing her new Binemust sky platform
Enclosed within a mountainous surround that in places blends with the region to give an almost Grand Canyon-ish feel, the setting can be divided into a number of areas that are both separate to one another and flow together as a complete scene. The largest two of these is the ruins of a town perched on the edge of the canyon’s wall to the south of the setting. Beyond this to the north lies a raised table of rock encrusted with black crystal-like rocks that form an uneven blanket.
Casting a shadow over part of the latter is the strangest of structures: a large platform that appears to be resting on the plateau courtesy of a massive column-like foot. “Appears” because multiple motors arrayed along its underside turn four-bladed propellers look like they are giving the platform stability and actually supporting some of its mass. Perhaps they might be intended to even lift it up into the air…
The landing point for the setting sits between the crystal field and the slope that drops down to the ruined township, a set of open gates set into the long wall that divides town from plateau inviting arrivals to descend the slope and explore what lays beyond the wall. Similarly, a narrow path free of crystals runs along the top of the slope to reach the foot of the strange platform.
Looking like it has been cobbled together over time, the platform offers a conglomeration of living space, commercial area, and what might be working spaces. A chain of floating crystals surround it in three sides, rising step-like around it. A bright arc of energy passes from one to the next to reach one floating directly over the platform’s highest roof, as if it is drawing power from the plain of dark crystals below. A buggy and wreck of a car sit on a deck to one side of the platform, with no discernible way of being removed, whilst on another deck sits a literal flying boat.
Below the platform, the remnants of the city clearly point to it have suffered some kind of apocalypse, but whether this is natural or the result of something like a war is impossible to tell. The wall that divides it from the rest of the landscape looks to be somewhat more recent that parts of the town, suggesting it is a more recent and possibly defensive addition.
Similarly, the relationship between the platform and the city is unclear, although the commonality of languages (English and Japanese) visible in both suggests they might be related. Perhaps the platform has been built by the inhabitants of the town; but if so, what is its ultimate purpose? If not, is it a wandering visitor, here to replenish supplies and gather energy? The story behind both is left entirely up to visitors to write.
Beyond both of these locations to the north of the crystal field is another modern structure in the form of what looks to be communications centre that like the town has weathered hard times, Also to the north is an ancient henge that gives a further fantasy twist to the setting. Oval in shape, the latter is dominated by the living skeleton of a great dragon. Possibly becalmed by a ghostly voice that sings quietly, the dragon sits within the stone arches like Viserion raised by the Night King, but with his flesh and sinews, organs and muscles, all long lost to the passage of time to leave only his great bones as he flexes his wings and periodically rises from his haunches to survey the landscape around him.
Pet, guardian or predator, the role of the dragon is also unclear, its story again left to visitors to tell for themselves. Perhaps it is simply part of the artistic element to the setting – more art (notably by Bryn Oh) can also be found at various points in the town. However, the presence of the henge in which it sits does nicely brackets the rest of the setting with a sense of history, being mirrored to the south and within the water of the canyon by another ancient element: the wreck of a Viking long ship, the familiar signature piece Biné always includes in her builds as a mark of her heritage.
As always with Biné’s designs, the setting is rich in detail, the sound scape offer additional, at times almost haunting, depth, with numerous opportunities for photography waiting to be found.
- Binemust: The Platform (Binemust, rated Adult)