Until recently I only knew Phoenixsee from my favorite crime series „Tatort“. One of the settings of this movies is Dortmund. The investigation team there had to solve a case around the lake. That wasn’t that much spectacular and I forgot the lake until I saw the program of Emscherkunst 2016 and learned that Phoenixsee is one of the locations this year; I was completely thrilled when I read of the „cloud machine“.
This was the trigger to get in closer touch with Phoenixsee and the history of Hörde and its steal production site. The name Phoenix stood for both the furnace plant on the property Phoenix-West and also the Oxygen steel plant Hermannshütte on the property Phoenix-East. The structural change of the region caused the dead of steal production, and the steel and furnace plants were closed and torn down. Similar to Phoenix, the mythological bird, this industrial wasteland obtains new life by arising from the ashes to a big, artificial lake, created on the grounds of the former steel plant. This lake is one of the exhibition areas of Emscherkunst 2016. In former days Emscher River was degenerated to an open sewer with concreted riverbed, but nowadays it is an ecologically improved river that flows its own way again. Together with the Hörder creek, they form a new home for many animals and plants. The area has developed to a recreation area, and also a more than luxury residential lake view zone. A little bit of a Venice flair is transplanted to Dortmund by Munich artist Benjamin Bergmann with his work Chiosco (“kiosk”). It invites visitors to a fictive trip to Italy and see their surroundings in a new light. Also displayed will be seen the sculptures of a project called „Spirits of the Emscher Valley“. by the artist duo Lucy + Jorge Orta. The project U.S.S. – Urban Space Station of Natalie Jeremijenko is a closed system combining agriculture and architecture. The Australian artist’s installation, reminiscent of a greenhouse-like space ship that docks onto the air conditioning of the surrounding buildings and creates a cleaning circulation. The waste air and warmth is filtered by the plants inside the installation, cleaned, and enriched with oxygen before it is led back into the building. For me the „cloud machine“ of Reiner Maria Matysik was closely related to very high expectations. The program promised that with the help of a machine the lake’s water will be transformed into cloud building steam. I expected something like an old fashioned steam locomotive which were able to produce powerful steam clouds. Sometimes I’m more than naive! Look at my pictures and you’ll see! Even though the „cloud machine“ was not what I had expected, my walk around Phoenixsee became an outstanding success. I like what they have made of this abandoned area. Apart from this unneccessary luxury living quarter, were no steel worker would have a chance to rent a flat, there are other residents like ducks, herons and dragonflies, who live rent-free and having a good time there.
More pictures? -> ⊗