- Hide menu
“There is the translation of an existing space into an operative space defined less by a configuration of positions than by qualities of potential movement. By that we mean that it is defined by ability to irrupt unexpectedly, to break out of or to break into the existing spatial grid, anywhere, at any moment. This irruptive potential enables a completely new and different pattern of movement that is not on the grid, but flows through it following different principles of circulation, and implying a different repertory of tactics.”
– Brian Massoumi
Zeche Zollverein coal mine industrial complex in Essen (Ruhr area) is one of the most important landmarks in Germany. Founded in 1847, it was responsible for a large chunk of Germany’s coal output during the 20th century. Zollverein Zeche survived the wars and had been continuously improved. Shaft XII, build in Bauhaus style, is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful industrial buildings.
Towards the end of the 20th century most heavy industries around Ruhr area and Essen were getting shut down, including Zollverein. There have been talks about disassembling it or even selling it to China, but at the end it was decided to keep it as a monument, although there’s still some uncertainty as to what should happen to it next. UNESCO added Zollverein Zeche to its list of World Heritage Sites in 2001 and it is now open to visitors being one of the most popular sights in Essen. In numerous attempts to revitalize the area, many educational and arts institutions have been opened at Zollverein territory, including the school of management and design and PACT Zollverein choreographic center.
We found Zollverein zeche coal mine to be particularly inspiring for The Humping Pact project – in fact, that’s where it all started.
The remnants of industrial tools that can be seen at the site had been used for many years to pump out, extract, transform the earth’s archefossils into the living energy. Therefore, there’s a strong physical aspect that the whole complex exudes.
The site used to have a lot of potential, which we are now reminded of only through its beautifully designed architecture turned into monument. So there’s a certain idea of solidified climax, which does not exist anymore but is commemorated within a structure that still carries its traces. No wonder Bauhaus designed one of the most productive shafts: the orgasmic fusion of architecture, ideology, industry and straight forms happened there and then.
The whole idea of revitalizing the area devastated by industry through educational and arts institutions also brings in an interesting connotation and asks for a certain kind of affective meditation on the subject.
Finally, it is simply an amazing piece of architecture that first and foremost commemorates the human passion for transforming the world and – at the same time – the impossibility of doing so, the exhaustion that comes with it, and the aesthetic ideals that surround this motion.
The film above was shown at at Oberhausen International Short Film festival on the 28th and 29th of April 2012 and Vienna Short Film Festival on the 7th of June (more info). The full version DVD can be purchased online below. For HD version produced for institutions and galleries, please, contact us directly.
Please, use your headphones or very good loudspeakers.
The song used in the soundtrack is by Forward Strategy Group, Industry & Empire.