Die Lausitz in Portugal

2011, Sep 12th

untitled, (looking east), Tagebau Cottbus, Jänschwalde, Lausitz, Eastern Germany
January 2007 (glass slide, single projection)

Mark Curran zeigt im Rahmen von ENCONTROS DA IMAGEM ab kommenden Samstag seine neueste Arbeit ausschnitte aus EDEN/extracts from EDEN in Braga, Portugaluntitled, section(map), Cottbus, Lausitz, Eastern Germany (glass slide, single projection)

The Lausitz lies in the southeastern part of the Province of Brandenburg in the former East Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) where it meets the Polish border. Of Sorb origin (a Slavic language group), the region has been shaped by the timeline of industrialisation, where along with its capital, Cottbus/Chosebuz was defined as a Model State and the energy heartland of the DDR. The Tagebau, part of the largest opencast mining territory in Europe, now owned by a Swedish energy multinational, lies north, east and south of the city. While the braunkohle (lignite) will eventually be depleted, it continues to be extended, leading to the destruction of century-old Sorb villages.Walter, Tagebauarbeiter/Miner, Tagebau Jaenschwalde, Lausitz, Eastern Germany
July 2008 (still, two-channel digital video, looped)

Having first visited the region in late 2003 in search of the impact of global capital in a periphery of Europe, as had been experienced in my native Ireland, I quickly realised that it was in fact the antithesis of this experience. I encountered an emptying and the recognition that the same globalising forces which had transformed unrestrained the landscape of my origins, were indeed transforming this landscape through its forces of withdrawal and seepage – a slow hemorrhaging – jobs going further East and its younger population migrating to the more prosperous West. In 2007, the region came last in a national survey addressing future prospects.disused workstation, Steilmann Textile Factory (one week before closure), Cottbus, Eastern Germany
April 2006 (glass slide, multiple projection)

Incorporating audio digital video, photography, cross-generational testimony and artefactual material, the project has been constructed in the context of a landscape shaped by and inscribed with the utopic ideological aspirations of modernity – industrialisation, socialism and now at great cost, globalisation. Pivotal to the project is the catalyst for the region, the Tagebau and critically seeing it as perhaps a metaphor for globalisation itself – finite, fragile and ultimately, unsustainable.

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