^ < European Capital of Barbarism RUHR 2010
destruction of culture by "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010"

feudal culture

contact photographer  contact me   hfinster@gmx.de

"Change through culture – culture through change" is the motto of the European European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010.

It spins in an absurd endless loop and stands for the shiftlessness of the makers of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010".

This slogan stands for the absurdity of a change at any price, a change in the terms of "just go away from here, no matter where". Change is practiced as an end in itself. Anything what represents change becomes culture. "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" does not draw from existing rich resources based on historic foundations. Instead a vaccum is created, hoping for "something new" growing out of the nothing "somehow".

This compact building of the former Henrichshütte at Hattingen housed a basic oxygen plant, an electic arc furnace, a continuous caster and a steel foundry. It would have been a perfect object to demonstrate different aspects of steel making. But there wasn't room for this outstanding example of industrial culture in "European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010". It has been demolished in 2004.

The official pamphlet of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" states "The identity of this new metropolis will not be shaped by work, but by culture.".

This cynical slogan of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" debases the work of engineers, workers and entrepreneurs. It is a slap in the face of honourable people who work for industrial culture and shape the basis of our material prosperity. It suggests that a society can function without work.

But this works only as long as the dirty work is done far away from the "civilised" world, somewhere in Africa or the far East. It works as long as our posh clothes are made by children, as long as we get cheap products which are stained from the blood of thousands of Chinese miners...

The "concept" of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" fools people by telling them, that wealth can be created in a society based on the provision of services by shifting money, by gambling on the stock exchange, by inventing new insurance-"products"... - in a world "cleaned" from manufacturing plants.

This is a lie. At least since the latest stock market crash everyone should have realized this.

"Culture instead of work" is a very interesting approach: we abolish work and create a fun society. Panem et Circenses! Free beer for everyone! And the bad bank pays the bill.

Funnyfication of authentic historical artifacts, i.e. the deformation of industrial monuments into meaningless fun-objects, has long begun: the coal silo of Maximilian coke plant has been converted into a funny glass elephant, the battery of Zollverein coke plant is crowned with a funny ferris wheel and the former Meiderich iron works becomes a funny and colourful tourist attraction at night.

If Cologne would be located in the "Capital of Culture" area, the cathedral would possibly have been converted into a funny disco.

"European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" preaches a consumer society instead of a culture of creative and productive work. "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" offers easy to digest, funny events instead of discussing fundametal issues for the future.

Genuine historical monuments don't fit in the concept of change. They don't fit in the image of the fun and consumer society propagated by "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010".

Technical monuments are obstacles in the process of so called progress and undergo quick mopping-up operations to make change visible.

No room for culture at Oberhausen: the electric arc furnace steelworks had to make room for unused brownland.

Example: the mayor of Oberhausen and an Irish investor aim for an "ambitious urbanistic concept" for the former electric arc furnace steelworks. They follow the motto "The quickest answer is action" and consequently act: the plant is quickly torn down and then ... nothing happens for a long period of time until, at least, no less than ten percent of the newly created brownland are covered with an architectural unambitious corrugated steel box.

So there is still plenty of space for future-oriented developments; maybe a few bad banks or a number of job centres? There is a lot of potential in this type of growth sectors, even without work. (This fits well into the concept of a society without work, see above.)

On a side note: ignorance of the makers seems to fit perfectly in the concept of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010". The decision to demolish the Oberhausen steel mill was justified with the argument, that a similar plant already exists nearby at the Landschaftspark Nord (Duisburg). This so called expert was unable to tell the difference between a blast furnace and an electric arc furnace.

The makers of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" don't have any respect for the technological and architectural work of our ancestors.

They waste millions to contort, warp and "reuse" objects which can not be totally destroyed. As an example politicians and architects crave for recognition at Duisburg. They are planning to put a glass cage on top of the historic Küppersmühle, a former flour mill. They want to disdain the architecture by leaving their odour marks on the building and intend to warp this architectural and technical monument into a meaningless mockery.

An endangered first class industrial and cultural monument: the headframe of Lohberg colliery designed by the architects Schupp and Kremmer

On the other hand politicians pretend that there isn't any money to preserve authentic industrial monuments. The Lohberg headframe, an outstanding example of the trend-settings designs by the famous Schupp/Kremmer architects, is already on the demolition list. In contrast, the makers plan to install a "citadel" on top of a waste tip nearby - probably as a fortress against the arrogance and the dementia of the managers and politicians.

The managing director of "European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" summarises the "concept" of the event: "We want to place new images in opposition to the antiquated, inaccurate image of the Ruhr". He vilifyes the cultural roots of the area as a burden which has to be eliminated. He does not even offer new perspectives but only "new images", images used to gild reality, a skin-deep beauty without roots and without sense.

"European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010" does not answer any of the fundamental questions for the future. It does not even ask the right questions and does not offer more than a few colourful illusive solutions.

So, make yourself comfortable at the European Capital of Barbarism RUHR 2010.

"We could be the Venice of the North". Who said that? Alderman Percy Trumfleetwho, admittedly, wes seeking re-election at the time and was, therefore, not unbiased. However, from certain angles, he had a point. For 'gondolier' read 'bargee', and it has to be conceded that our Venice is built upon utility not ornament. But utility has its own graces. Our palaces may be mills but some of them are still making cloth the world recognizes as superior. If we are without ornament we are not without dignity. And dignity is weightier than ornament. Perhaps dignity is our ornament.

Roy Clarke, Summer Wine Country

©   Harald Finster, Gulpener Str. 26, 52074 Aachen, Germany   industrial photography
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