Edited by: Riccardo Del Fabbro – Architecture Department Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Proofreading: Bianca Baroni
Where : Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Artworks: industrial landscape
According to several thoughts, the industrial revolution has been the beginning of the modern society and, consequently, of the contemporary one.
The economic BOOM, which expanded through different periods since mid 19th century allowed the entire world population to improve their living conditions.
At the same time, it deteriorated for many decades the lifestyle of those who were part of the industrial production chain.
This is obviously a simplistic simplification.
The whole thing changes if we speak about the evolution of those areas where industrial growth took place, or is taking place today.
Their morphological and geological richness has meant that humans began to speculate in order to extract useful products or raw materials for industrial processing.
This uncontrolled gain has brought drastic changes in the nature and in its landscape.
A good example is Bitterfeld-Wolfen, a town of 45k inhabitants, in the heart of the “Sachsen-Anhalt” region.
Since the early 40’s of 1800 its lands have been “looted” to extract lignite and clay and after a few years the chemical industry has put down roots in his flat landscape, typical of the central part of Germany.
So, chemical extractions and carbon derivatives.
From the second post-war period, many factors, from political to economic ones, allowed at first the chemical industry to have a net negative peak, up to the shutdown, and then the mining sector in the nineties closed.
Now the chemical industry seems stable but in crisis, unfortunately local people can’t find great deal for work, many leaves, the city is empty.
The multi centenary mines are no longer visible.
Where have they gone?
Have been hushed up under water, infact the whole mining area was covered by untold cubic meters of water.
In an attempt to remedy this “tampering with evidence”, (and makes a subtle laugh), was built at the beginning of the 21st century, a park, which could be described as (post) industrial, and that appears to be the largest installation of landart globally.
What characterizes this landscape intervention are 8 hills and 49 slag heaps that want to express the nature of the historically productive place.
At the center of this green peninsula there’s an amphitheater molded by the landscape conformation that can hold up to 3800 spectators for theater performances, concerts: everything that has to do with entertainment.
Let’s take a bare summary: in the past there were mines, continuous excavations, endless cycle of detritus, and pollution. Today in the same areas we have a lake that can be bravely suitable for swimming, an amphitheater, hills and pilings of sediments which serve to “remember”.
So all that was productive and pollutant has now been turned into entertainment, cultural and artistic spaces.
The city continues to appear as a ghost, empty, and the different chimneys of the industries keep on making the sky grey.
If the greyness of the sky is the true monument that can help us to not forget about the past, everything else seems to have been hidden.