“Let me give an example: Essen and the Ruhr area will be “Kulturhauptstadt Europa 2010″ (Capital of Culture 2010). The official pamphlet says “Die Identität dieser Metropole ist nicht mehr geprägt von Arbeit, sondern von Kultur” (the identity of this metropolis is no longer characterized by work, but by culture). This statement declares an antagonism between work and culture. It expresses the arrogance of the authorities and the powerful who feel themselves superior to the working class, if you permit me to use this old-fashioned term. They deny the merits of millions of people, who laid the ground for our welfare. These are the sorts of people who abuse industrial installations as vehicles. They cannot deny the existence of industrial architecture (although they do the best to wipe out as much of it as possible), but they try to pervert the original meaning of the installations. They add futuristic architectural elements, they pull out historic machinery to make the interior look “nice and modern” and they turn former workplaces into meaningless Disney-Land like amusement parks. They paint a distorted image of our history. My photographs attempt to correct this image.
Using the documentary form underlines my attempt to communicate a correct and undistorted image. Politicians and their handymen turn authentic monuments into something different. It is important to underline the ambiguity of the word, different. The transformation of the industrial landscape into something different has no recognizable goal, no direction, no roadmap. I don’t denounce transformation, but transformation requires a goal, an underlying concept, which must be more than, “we want change.” What I call the “pseudo intellectual elite” disregards the historic roots of our industrial society. They want to make a change, but they can’t offer new concepts leaving us [uprooted]. My photographs are intended as a contribution, perhaps a small one, to preserve an authentic image of our industrial roots.”
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- Neil (@fitnr): Nice to see Lydia’s work here! She was my student long ago in the GSD Career Discovery program.
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- rholmes: Thanks, Nam.
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