ARTerioinspiracje. Wieczór IV: CREATIVE CITY – culture centers operating in post-industrial spaces.

W ramach IV spotkania z cyklu ARTerioinspiracje 19 września 2010 roku Fundacja ARTeria gościła wyjątkowych i licznych dyskutantów. Tym razem tematem przewodnim spotkania, w nawiązaniu od wrześniowego Kongresu Kultury Śląskiej oraz do zabrzańskiej VII Międzynarodowej Konferencji poświęconej dziedzictwu przemysłowemu, było „miasto kreatywne”. Miasto wykorzystujące dziedzictwo kulturowe, także poprzemysłowe, dla kultury i promocji. Miasto atrakcyjne dla mieszkańców. Ze względu na udział zagranicznych gości prezentacja przygotowana przez Annę Ochmann (poniżej) oraz dyskusja odbyły się w języku angielskim.

Uczestnicy spotkania zaproponowali temat i termin kolejnego spotkania. Zapraszamy 22 października 2010 roku na dyskusję o europejskich politykach kulturalnych. Punktem wyjścia do dyskusji będzie raport „Europejskie polityki kulturalne 2015. Raport ze scenariuszami przyszłości publicznego finansowania sztuki współczesnej w Europie pod redakcją Marii Lind i Raimunda Minichbauera”, do którego – jako wstęp do dyskusji – tradycyjnie odniesie się Anna Ochmann. Zreferuje także wnioski i rekomendacje po konferencji Culture Action Europe „The time is now!”.

Ze względów organizacyjnych i lokalowych (wrześniowa dyskusja zgromadziła bardzo liczną publiczność) osoby zainteresowane udziałem w spotkaniu prosimy o kontakt: annaochmann@fundacja-arteria.org

Wyklad wprowadzajacy do dyskusji:

Creative city – culture centers operating in post-industrial spaces.

Research on cities development demonstrate more and more often that infrastructure and manpower resources are factors, which are basic or which guarantee success. Richard Florida, an American researcher and an academic teacher who concentrates on the social and economic issues connected with urban planning, has formulated an interesting theory of creative capital

Research on cities development demonstrate more and more often that infrastructure and manpower resources are factors, which are basic or which guarantee success. Richard Florida, an American researcher and an academic teacher who concentrates on the social and economic issues connected with urban planning, has formulated an interesting theory of creative capital. He found that pace of city development consists of three factors (3 x T): technology potential (amount of patent applications), talent potential (percentage of people employed in “creative positions”, also in creative professions), tolerance potential (diversity). Also other authors condition cities success on creativity, i.a. prof. Antoni Kukliński, economy geographer with specialization of spatial management and science politics, defines three creativity pillars (3 x W – in Polish) – with similar rule as R.Florida: knowledge, imagination and freedom.

Inspiring myself with the words of Albert Einstein „imagination is more important than knowledge” while writing about a creative city I would like to concentrate on talent, tolerance/imagination and freedom. A creative city inspires to activity non only of artistic character, but as well a social one, this is a place for everybody, who sharing the public space can develop themselves, fulfill their passions, ideas, hobbies. Diversity and multi-variety in the local community are the features, which inspire creation of new, innovative, original conceptions, ideas, solutions. They favour creativity, result reciprocally in growth of variety. This creative atmosphere is a specific creative genius loci, which has in literature its name: creative milieu – creative surrounding. A creative city are active cultural institutions, but as well pulsating pubs and streets, those are also great art events, festivals and reviews, at the same time also intimate concerts, enclaves of creative environments, alternative music or theater scenes, underground activities.

Culture institutions and structures operating In post-industrial could be not only an factor activating a local community, influencing its development, but also an interesting tourism product. On the example of several structures (especially associated in Trans Europe Halles, due to the fact, that most of the institutions in this network operates exactly in old production halls, printing houses, railway station etc.) I will try to present, that creativity, conception to support a young generation of artists, fulfillment of innovative, social, alternative activities or finally even great festival events, creates the image of the city-place and that it influence on its promotion also in the tourism aspect.

Examples indication of such creative places or cities is a valuable inspiration in discussion about the utilization of the industrial heritage potential for the tourism promotion.

The utilization of industrial spacer for the art activities, revitalization of those spaces for the needs of the cultural institutions or widely understood creative industries, is one of the more interesting and – in my opinion – very important directions of the urban spaces transformation of the 20. and 21. century. On the one hand it is a chance for the lasting, balanced development of the areas, which by means of technological and economic changes dispose of richness of this kind of architecture and areas, on the other hand the was for an attractive promotion of the places connected with post-industrial “degradation”. It could be also an interesting instrument of social economy and of tourism offer creation. Thanks to still growing awareness of the post-industrial architecture heritage, as and integral part of the cultural heritage, more and more interesting and innovative structures are being created, by a few culture function they are given a “new life”.

The first „wave” of ideas to utilize industrial structures for the cultural purposes happens in the 60. and 70. of the 20.century. In the USA at that time were created ARTS LABS, in England and Ireland ARTS CENTRES, in Western Europe CULTURE CENTRES. The most famous icons of this first wave are undoubtedly Andy’s Warhol’s Factory (NY, 1963), Roundhouse (London 1964), Melkweg (Amsterdam, 1970) or ufaFabrik (Berlin, 1979). Those centers were created often as independent civil initiatives. They developed a piece of public space and slowly they were growing, setting, and professionalizing and gradually changing into culture institutions. The second “wave” connected with depolitization of culture are years 1980-1997, the third one started in 1998. More and more often appreciation of the industrial heritage causes that has been created and is still being created a series of structures and places offering an attractive program or realizing interesting projects, e.g. Metelkova (Slovenia) or Touscene (Norway). Those structures has started to create a network of cooperation
On of the biggest and the most active cooperation platforms of the cultural institutions, which “settled” in post-industrial structures is Trans Europe Halles THE). The Organization ensures exchange of information, technical support for 49 members and 7 cooperating organizations coming from 26 countries of Europe. THE prepares and coordinated two-and multi-sided projects, initiates cooperation of artists and entrepreneurs (of which and example can be an international incubator of culture in Lund in Sweden). Adaptation of industrial halls, coal mines or railway stations surprise less and less, because they make an inspiration for social and creative activity. What is important, cities, which notice, and are able to use creatively in creation of its identity, potential of industrial structures and to develop them or inspire the others to do it, are creative cities, open cities…
I would like to signal several examples of foreign solutions, which are inspiring for the activities, which are being undertaken also in Silesia.
One of the more interesting points on the cultural map of Switzerland is undoubtedly a culture center utilizing a former factory area: „Rote Fabryk” In Zurich. A building complex made from red brick, beautifully situated over the lake disposes of several stages used for music, theater and dance purposes. Rote Fabryk could be called a „cultural town” : every year there take place over 100 concerts, events, municipal festivals, theater first nights, art actions. It is possible to benefit from a media library, studio of video projects, exposition spaces, galleries, artist-in-residence program is being realized. It is inspiring that everybody (groups, teams, individual creators) can apply to the center his art project, and the decision of its realization is taken by the managing board. Rote Fabrik is partially financed by the city and partially from gained, additional sources. Prestige of the place causes that it is also an important point on the map of Zurich cultural attractions.
Dutch solution of cultural politics often use post-industrial structures to fulfill art activities or to run a business in so-called creative industries. An interesting place on the map of European culture centers utilizing industrial spaces is former gas-works Westergasfabrik in Amsterdam. This is a very attractive space covering revitalized buildings and recultivated recreation areas, in which co-exist: creativity, innovation, energy, art and spirit of enterprise. It is often indicated as expert enterprise in the field of industrial heritage revitalization for multi-use purposes. In Westergasfabrik a number of events is organized, from theater performances, festivals, concerts, films shows. One of the most famous is PICNIC – a conference regarding modern technologies, in which world class specialists take part.
A next inspiring idea can ba Stanica in Slovakia – non-governmental, alternative “ culture center” utilizing an area of revitalized railway station Żylina-Záriečie. The guidelines of the founders of this unique place is creation of a harbour for the contemporary culture and art, but what is important – for the widely understood social activities activating children, youth, adults, artists, audience, passengers. Stanica still fulfills its primary function – it is possible to buy there tickets and passengers waiting for a train can join into realization of cultural projects. The initiative signs into an art project “Kulturfabrik”, which through artistic, educational, social activities through game, sport and relax in post-industrial spaces should create a platform of cooperation, communication and public life.
Zollverein in Essen or the examples of the region Nord Pas de Calais were mentioned more Times – the other ones – in my opinion – very interesting are i.a.: WUK in Vienna, HUSET in Aarhus (Denmark), Kultuuritehas Polimer in Kalinin (Estonia), Korjaamo Culture Factory in Helsinki (Finland) , theater TNT in Bordeaux (France), independent culture center on a ship “A38” at the river bank in Budapest, OZU center in an old sweets factory near Rome, Parkteater Scene in Oslo situated in the oldest Norwegian cinema, Project Fabrika in Moscow’s factory of technical papers “October” or last but not least the biggest Slovenian center of alternative culture Pekarna Magdalenskie Mreze in Marobir.
Also Polish examples of industrial space utilization are inspiring. I chose two, also the members of THE. From September 2003 in Old Praga district in Warsaw operates a private Fabryka Trzciny Art Center. It is a cultural and educational complex localized in a renovated factory (marmalade factory, canned food processing plant and finally a production place of famous “pepegi” (plimsoll shoes)) offering various art events such as theater performances, exhibitions, music festivals, concerts, lectures of the University of Free Time. Art Center in composed of i.a.: intimate stage, theater hall, club room, gallery, two bars and one restaurant. For organized events arrive not only the inhabitants of Warsaw, very often due to unique character and reputation it is possible to meet here tourists also from abroad.
Another Polish example id utilization of industrial spaces fro cultural activities can be Theater Łaźnia Nowa situated in the former workshops of the Mechanical School Complex in Nowa Huta. Those are “post-industrial halls with the smell of pitch and a flood made of wooden blocks, 4500m² of art surfaces, in which everything is possible. (…) Performances, concerts, cinema, stage, recording studio, café. Continuous movement of thought”. A theater is a municipal culture unit. Projects realized there very often go out of the building itself, they operate in the city space using the architecture of housing estates, showing that theater, art, culture are integral part of life according to motto “We guarantee culture, as we care of thinking hygiene!”
Silesia is a region rich in inheritance industrial, subjected to constant transformations. Economical, technological and social changes cause, that the industrial center of Poland has a chance to become a post-industrial culture area. Mine shafts, factory halls, post-industrial areas become more and more often an idea, an inspiration for adaptation, art, multiple- fields activities. The primary architecture: functionality and ergonomics supports its utilization in a new role. For culture purposes this is a dream space.
Several examples show that this process Has been already initiated. Katowice is realizing an adaptation project of coal mind “Katowice” buildings as a new seat of Silesian museum. Lately this place was for several days a capital of pop-culture due to festival 4. Tauron Nowa Muzyka Śląski Teatr Tańca used an area of former “Szombierki” thermal power station to organize International Conference of Modern Dance and Festival of Dance Art. Gallery Mine Shaft Wilson in the complex of “Wieczorek” mind is on the other hand and interesting example of cooperation of art and business world. On almost 6000m2 are situated two commercial companies and a known art gallery. Zabrze JAZ Festival from years utilized industrial spaces of the former coal-mine “Ludwik” (currently of DEMEX company), organizing in this reality concerts of improvised music.
As a conclusion I would like shortly refer to project EC1 in Łódź, which probably in the most complex and bold way uses i.a. post-industrial structures to create other, coherent and attractive city center.
The aim of the program Nowe Centrum Łodzi (New Łódź Center) is transformation of the city in attractive metropolis and also economic and social revival of the city center by creation of new and functional center with attractive public areas. This aim is supposed to be achieved i.a. by giving a new social, educational, cultural and art function to the architecture (renovation, modernization – also of post-industrial structures) and by organizing attractive cultural events
One of the project assumptions it “importance growth of Łódź as a culture center, reinforcement of its metropolitan and image of a modern city, developing in connection with regional culture traditions. This will cause among others the growth of tourist attractiveness of the city and due to this fact of a tourists number visiting Łódź”
Participating in a presentation of what was already realized and also of planned activities, I was positively surprised with visionary, complexity but also with effectiveness of proposed solutions. On of the most interesting elements of that are plans connected with “hiding”: under ground the whole railway infrastructure in the city center, thanks to that a center of Nowa Łódź will be able to develop without limitations on the areas so far “overtaken” by railway lines. Also grand scale of under ground railway station together with commercial infrastructure, surprises positively. For the realization of a project Nowe Centrum Łodzi is responsible non-governmental institution Instytucja Kultury EC 1 Łódź – Miasto Kultury, which should also in the future manage the revitalized area.
To its tasks, apart from complex realization of the conception, coordination and supervision of each steps of investment fulfillment belong as well marketing and PR activities regarding the project. What is underlined by the people who realize it, from the beginning the project is carried out with inhabitants and for inhabitants, and just a wide society participation guarantees creation of creative city.
Amartya Sen an Indian economist, Nobel Prize winner for his works on wealth economics was of the opinion that “development can be understood as a extension of freedom area”, and that one of the important areas of this freedom is the right to participate in culture. Participation not only passive, but as well active, in the role of the creator, performer but as well amateur. Also the contemporary tourist prefers rather not “sedate” monuments, but a possibility for a lively, active participation in events.
Revitalization of post-industrial areas and objects and later handing over in possession of the culture, art and social activities will not only build a create city and will develop creative milieu but this is as well the most efficient way for the social changes and for building attractiveness of a place. Paraphrasing words of, if I’m not mistaken, st. Augustin that, “city are not only walls and streets but also people and their dreams”, I would underline that city are first of all people and their dreams. Potential, which is lies in cities of Silesian metropolis, is the beginning not only of the new perception of those places, but also a starting point for lasting social changes and stable economic growth, including also incomes from tourism.
In the nearest future a stereotype association of Silesia with post-industrial heritage maybe could change into other one: that it is one of the more interesting and modern regions of Poland, which is able to transform creatively an industrial past into the present marked with culture.

Anna Ochmann