1976, im Osten Westtangente (2020)

Audio Walk, Poster, Script, part of Between Model and Museum. Symposion and exhibition in Eisenhüttenstadt organised by Kunstverein im Kloster Neuzelle, DE

"Eisenhüttenstadt is the former 'first socialist city of Germany'. The core of the city was planned and built in the 1950s. Today, this core is protected as the largest area monument in Germany and has now been almost completely restored. The impulse of the city's founding, the attempt to form a community organized in the best possible way in terms of urban planning and architecture, becomes clear and palpable as one wanders through the city. However, the city also seems to have lost its idea with socialism. By preserving the city as a monument, the image of a past future thus preserved almost inevitably evokes speculation about how such an urban design would be conceived today: on what foundations, for what future. This impulse is powerful, but any conception must remain speculation because of the monument status.

The artistic, scientific, philosophical contributions to the project 'Eisenhüttenstadt - Between Model and Museum' unfold this as stimulating as contradictory state of a past but conserved promise for the future. The artistic projects will be presented at several locations in the city. A conference at the Friedrich-Wolf-Theater will assemble all contributions in a discussion. Where those present speak in the space of a city that embodies a past model of society, the discussion also recalls the city as a space of encounter and negotiation where a social will is formed. The question here is what this space of negotiation looks like today, where it can be found; and also whether a city as a model provides such a space."

Text: Kunstverein Kloster Neuzelle

I encountered the planned city of Eisenhüttenstadt via a detour: starting with a audio-visual presentation from 1976, she looked from the west to the east. The slide show consists of 100 slides, a tape and a script. It was produced by a secondary school class. The youthful voices tell of the everyday life of a family living in Ratingen West, in one of the many large housing estates built by the housing association Neue Heimat in the late 1960s. I isolated individual images from the audio-visual presentation and exposed them in the former day nursery in Eisenhüttenstadt, together with the script of the presentation. I picked up the voices of the young people and transfers them to an encounter with Eisenhüttenstadt: After researching the film archive of the Arcelor Mittal steel mill, I developed a text refering to films from the companies film studios. I recorded this text, which works like a voice over, and allows to experience it via headphones. Visitors of the exhibition can use headphones to move through the residential complexes around the former weekday nursery. Stimulated by the voice, they may imagine and remember images while simultaneously experiencing buildings, streets, vehicles, plants, people and animals walking. In this temporal and spatial construct the model character of Eisenhüttenstadt can be experienced.

During the symposium, I presented a digitalized version of the audio-visual slide show as a video.

I used the audio-visual slide show with the kind permission of the Ratingen City Archive; the film material from the company film studios with the kind permission of the Arcelor Mittal Eisenhüttenstadt GmbH company archive; photos Anne Schülke