Summerschool Green Shadow of Zollverein - ESSEN (english)
Summerschool Green Shadow of Zollverein context, goals and methods
In 1998 we visited the Ruhr for the first time, ever since we have been working and travelling in the 5 milion people city: designing and constructing the park of Zollverein, constructing a large landmark sculpture on a spoil tip near Moers, creating a temporary village in Geslenkirchen, building and hosting the Warten auf den Fluss sculpture for the Emscherkunst Triennale.
Katja Assmann, director of Urbane Künste Ruhr, commissioned us to research the urban challenges and opportunities of world heritage Zollverein and it's surrounding city districts Katernberg and Stoppenberg. "Urbane Künste Ruhr is the new art organization in the cultural metropolis Ruhr. Based on the unique urban landscape of the Ruhr Area, we together with artists, networks, and cultural institutions investigate the core of urbanity. Under the artistic direction of Katja Aßmann, Urbane Künste Ruhr develops and realizes projects that define the design of cities in a new way – always on-site and together with the people living here. Urbane Künste Ruhr risks a new perspective on the Ruhr Area, the city in general, and the possibilities of art."
We explore a world famous place set in unknown territory. We want to understand, give meaning and create impulses for a transition that is happening is a spectacular and overwhelming way on Zollverein and in an invisble and steady way in the city districts Katernberg and Stoppenberg.
We have choosen to focus on an area north of Zollverein and we called it the Green Shadow of Zollverein. Spatially, this is a special place: we see the remains of a countryside overgrown by the metropolis: fields, forest, horses, a barn. Standing in the middle of the area we are surrounded by the typical Ruhrmix of intense infrastructure, bygone industry, garden towns and dots of forest. Where is the centre? What is the status of what I see? Socially and culturally, the global and the local are right bang next to each other and seem to have no ties. But the global Zollverein is also a city park and the local Katernberg has many inhabitants of different nationalities. Slowly students are moving into the area. In terms of identity two seperate worlds collide, but they stem from one source. Environmentally, we can see traces of farmland, wetlands, city park and a small forest planted to keep pollution of the coilery away from the garden towns. All this is part of the Emscher Landschaftspark, the metropolitain patchwork landscape park. It is world famous among urban planners, beloved by bikers, but who knows that the unspectacular Green Shadow is part of it?
How to marry these worlds? How to enjoy the disconnections and contrasts? How to connect the very special and the very ordinary? How to anticpate the gradual decrease of socio-economic and cultural subsidies? How to understand the Ruhr area as normal, as pretty, as exceptional, as an example? After the era of industry and the big transition in culture and economics, since ±1980 the Ruhr is heading for a third decade. Where is the Ruhr going anyway? What is needed? What would be a leading thought? (the slogan for 2010 Ruhr Cultural Capital of Europe was: change thorugh culture, culture through change) Is the good life already there, or what is lacking in paradise? What can art do?
In the near future Zollverein will have a ringpromenade, a road defining the inside and the outside of the heritage area, at the same time connecting most of the special sites. How can this promenade also serve as a connector with the neighbouring districts? How can it link conservation of an open air museum and gradual change of city life?
From 2012 Observatorium has drawn up a topographic/fantastic map of the green shadow, created a large sculpture resonating the mining culture (which will be installed at Zollverein and used for the workshop) and did many interviews and informal walks with the inhabitants. The workshop DER GRÜNE SCHATTEN will take these experiences further and lead to a travel and development guide. The particpants of the workshop are introduced in the qualities and issues of the green shadow, will design a site specific artwork symbolizing a new use/ life/ culture and will write an article for the guide with Observatorium and Urbane Künste as editors.
The workshop is a public event. It takes place in public spaces and/or will be open the the audience. Guest lectures will be held by politicians, designers and users of Zollverein and it's green shadow. Every passer–by is is a guest lecturer. The public art pieces, inventions, interventions, the materailzed ideas for a marriage between local/global, heritage/future and negotium/otium will on view on World Heritage Day, June 1.