Re-designing the Metropolis

The Angerpark Landmark, “Tiger & Turtle/Magic Mountain“ / Design: Heike Mutter & Ulrich Genth/Duisburg Office Capital of Culture RUHR.2010The Angerpark Landmark, “Tiger & Turtle/Magic Mountain“ / Design: Heike Mutter & Ulrich Genth/Duisburg Office Capital of Culture RUHR.2010

The Angerpark Landmark, “Tiger & Turtle/Magic Mountain“ / Design: Heike Mutter & Ulrich Genth/Duisburg Office Capital of Culture RUHR.2010

The Ruhr has transformed its appearance over the last few decades, creating a unique urban cultural landscape in the guise of the Ruhr Metropolis. The European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 is confronted with a seemingly endless, polycentric urban landscape with all its structural and social diversity, varied lifestyles and living environments. Evidence of a well-defined, unique development is there for all to see.

The architectural landscape of the Ruhr Metropolis is a showcase for innovative building design and experimentation, but, more than anything else, it exemplifies the ingenious transformation of industrial buildings and shows all the signs of a new self-awareness. It embodies a new understanding, heralded by the International Building Exhibition Emscher Park (1989 -1999), in which not only natural spaces but also man-made environments are perceived as "landscape". The Metropolis is a reality which no longer needs to be built, but must now be re-designed.

The focus of 2010 is on the shared vision for the Ruhr Metropolis. Through the structural, cultural and artistic work that has gone into the "Re-designing the Metropolis" programme, the Capital of Culture arouses our curiosity by changing, re-discovering or redefining the raison d’être of its cities. RUHR.2010 challenges local, national and international designers, planners, architects and artists to think outside the box. All of a sudden, the possibilities are endless: a winding tower at Nordstern becomes an emblem of fine art, a town square in Bochum is electrified by a thousand promises, the Angerpark spoil tip is transformed into the "Magic Mountain" and the Ruhr creeps into the "Twilight Zone".

The heady mix of visual arts and urban planning, landscaping and architecture already promises to provide a wealth of amazing images. Artistic intervention reshapes urban structures and embellishes landscapes that resonate with their industrial past: The chosen playgrounds typify the problems and perspectives of the Ruhr, but can also be seen as models for metropolitan areas elsewhere in Europe. RUHR.2010 wants to stop the clock for a brief second in the history of the Ruhr, to conduct experiments, explore new ground and, above all else, rekindle its zest for life. The European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010 offers the opportunity to draw upon the powerful vision of extraordinary artistic intervention that will fundamentally and permanently change the way that an entire region is perceived.

The programme "Re-designing the Metropolis" consists of three different themes:

Structural Culture

We gaze proudly on the Ruhr Metropolis, on the distinctive silhouettes of its symbolic architecture and the transformed monuments of the industrial culture, on the extensive, innovative landscape parks and the artistic makeover of the former spoil tips. However, we need to delve into the private lives of the people to bring the structural culture to life and reveal the full picture. The focus is on housing culture, relaxation in the industrial forest and mobile working spaces for the future. A motorway is re-designed as a "Park motorway", a brewery is converted into a creative arts centre and a ploughed field is transformed into a work of art. RUHR.2010 highlights the structural culture of everyday life and special events, revealing the unique identity of the Ruhr.

Jump to the theme: STRUCTURAL CULTURE

Artistic Interventions

The Ruhr Metropolis is both a vision and a project in progress. In any event, it constitutes a cultural projection that needs to be filled with life and content. In this process, it is not sufficient merely to be aware of existing potential. We also have to be able to specifically visualise and itemise as we gaze into the future of the Ruhr as a metropolis. This search for cogent and compelling answers has a particularly artistic dimension. Artistic interventions have the power to make us recognise anew places that have been forgotten or forsaken, to rededicate them, to extract value from them and to question their existence. All the different approaches that may be adopted have one thing in common - their intention is to divert us from the line of least resistance, to challenge us to experiment and to embark upon a process with no defined end. As part of this journey, we will be creating an island of art on the River Emscher, people from around the world will be writing a book relating to just 2-3 streets, typical "faceless places" of a city will be given an artistic makeover and brought back to life, and traffic arteries in a municipal area will be "beautified" almost beyond recognition.


Light Art

More than two decades ago, the Ruhr Metropolis embarked upon an unusual development route as a "workshop for the future of industrial regions", with the "Ruhr Mythology" serving as a starting point for an entire conurbation to reinvent itself. An important ingredient in this process has been and still is the medium of light. It was not until the Meiderich steel plant was spectacularly illuminated that the full beauty of the blast furnace plant was permanently etched in the collective memory. An eastern pole and a western pole are marked with delicate lines of light by two winding towers, one in Bönen and one in Kamp-Lintfort, and the old Hellweg "trading route" has also been given over to the art of light. This and more will be on show in the Capital of Culture through an Internet platform entitled "Licht RUHR.2010". The light landscape of the Ruhr Metropolis provides a fertile breeding ground for the development of completely new formats; hence living rooms are to become exhibition venues for light art, churches are to open themselves up for light installations, and a light art festival will captivate the Ruhr Valley and its venues.

Jump to the theme: Light Art

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