• The three chapters of this video installation play in three cities in the Ruhr region of Germany. There are three protagonists of different generations walking down the pedestrian streets of these cities on foot. A long camera movement shows them only from behind, their eyes fixed on what they have in front of them. They tell personal stories related to the emergence and appropriation of public space, as well as the region’s history of coal mining.

    The urban development of the Ruhr region is closely tied to the history of mining. With industrialization, demand for coal increased significantly, and ever larger and more efficient collieries proliferated over time. People from all over Germany came in search of work. As a strategic bombing target, the region was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. In the reconstruction of the post-war period, the urban structure and space as we know it today was built.
    The first protagonist of the video, born in the 1930s, speaks about her own personal experiences, as well as those of her parents and grandparents, from the first half of the twentieth century, which were strongly influenced by the destiny of the whole region.
    The second person, born in the 1950s, is one of the last miners in Western Europe and talks about the working and living conditions in the coal mines. His own vita is linked to the structural changes of the region. He tells how the slow end of many industries has influenced the cityscape and life in the Ruhr region.
    The third person, born in the 1980s, speaks about the subculture sport Parkour, in which he overcomes and crosses elements of urban space through daring acrobatics. In this way he builds a special relationship to the urban environment and appropriates public space. As an educator, he stands for the future, which is connected with the question of how to deal with the legacy of coal mining and what new livelihoods might emerge in the Ruhr region.


    In addition to the video installation, the book BIOS. Histoires de la Ruhr was developed in the context of research on the stories of the Ruhr region. The entire project was awarded the Prix Neumann des Beaux-Arts du Conseil Administratif de la Ville de Genève in 2013.


    three channel video installation, HDV, color, sound, loop

    installation view