Bergschaden / Mine Subsidence
“Despite the mine closures, the Ruhrgebiet is still associated with coal and steel. In recent years, more and more of the pits have been shut down, which is why mine carts are being used as planters and turning up in the streets and squares alongside sheaves, and other mining relics that have been rendered useless. Simultaneously, the last remaining mining buildings are being renovated into showcase museums.
This is an unmistakable sign that coal mining has migrated north from the traditional mining areas. The once hard labor is now being seen from a new romanticized perspective. Although the subterranean work ended long ago, there are still long-term consequences. Once the coal is extracted, the overburden caves in across long stretches; still, the surface of the earth above doesn’t being to falter until years later. Entire landscapes sink, rivers and canals need to be diked to prevent flooding, and many buildings are cracked or left leaning at a threatening angle.
The work in Lünen-Süd makes reference to these damages caused by mining. On the former school playground at Bahnstraße 31, I have erected an architectural structure that is similar in shape and design to the buildings of the surrounding mining settlements.
In contrast to the nearby buildings that were spared from the mine subsidence, the house appears to be sinking. The extreme slant illustrates the uninhabitability of such a building, which is underscored by its lack of roof: protecting the house is no longer necessary in this case. The skeleton of the house can be seen as a symbol of nature’s delayed response to being exploited by humanity. I particularly want to contrast this commonly repressed phenomenon with the undue romanticism surrounding mining throughout nearly all areas in the Ruhrgebiet.”
(Text: Hannes Forster)
Additional information: www.kunst-und-kultur-luenen.de
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Lünen, Bahnstraße 31 (in the yard of the Bergmannsmuseum)