Machines as Gardens: Visual Culture and Post-Steel Sensibilities in the Ruhr District

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Media Gardens

Presentation Title:

  • Machines as Gardens: Visual Culture and Post-Steel Sensibilities in the Ruhr District

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • The visual culture that defined the industrial era Ruhr District has in recent decades given way to a post-steel visual culture that represents a new resolution to the tension between nature and technology through cultivation of what I term landscape value based on an extension of Alois Riegl’s work on monuments (Riegl, 1928). From 1989 to 1999, the International Building Exhibition, Emscher Park (IBA) became a catalyst for discursive and material changes integral to new images and relations in the Ruhr District. During the decade long tenure of IBA Emscher Park, coal mining and steel production brownfields became important sites for understanding how the post-industrial order materialized in the Ruhr District. Astonishingly, decaying industrial structures were rededicated as architectural and technological masterpieces, and ‘weeds’ were designated as natural growth worthy of protection.

    Full text (PDF) p.  472-473

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