Guest speakers: Chiara Bonfiglioli, lecturer in Gender and Women's Studies, University College Cork, Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou, Ph.D., architect engineer, Delft University of Technology, researcher in the Urban Environment Laboratory of the Faculty of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens, Božena Končić Badurina, visual artist, Irfan Hošić, Ph.D., founder and art director of KRAK Center, Miha Lovše, architect, Zahra Mani, composer and curator, Klanghaus
The conference's primary focus is a diverse set of practices of regeneration of industrial heritage throughout Europe. Industrial heritage refers to sites, structures, building complexes, areas, landscapes, machinery, objects, or documents that provide evidence of past or ongoing industrial processes. As a complex social and cultural legacy, it shapes communities' lives and influences major shifts in entire societies and all aspects of public and private life. Therefore, the conference seeks to tackle tangible as well as intangible dimensions in the background of industrial heritage, addressing a wide range of issues from disused sites to the history of workers and organization of work.
The conference is realized in the scope of the international project RESCUE (2019–2021), which is dedicated to the regeneration of disused industrial sites through creativity in Europe. As such, it brings together an international group of artists, workers in culture, and architects to unpack their practices tackling urgent issues behind the regeneration of industrial heritage. How to explore the history of abandoned industrial sites with the intention to re-define them as sustainable cultural spaces? Can the complex relationship between history, industrial heritage, people, and socio-cultural developments be reflected in a creative process that will result in a postulation of cultural strategies?
4.30 p.m. Introduction
4.40 p.m. Zahra Mani: RESCUE
Zahra Mani, musician, composer and curator from Klanghaus Untergreith in Austria, will introduce RESCUE - Regeneration of disused industrial sites through creativity in Europe. The ongoing »smaller scale cooperation project« co-funded by the Creative Europe program brings together partners from Italy, German, Slovenia and Austria. RESCUE is about industrial heritage, meanings of labour and social transformations of concepts pertaining to work and workspaces. It is also about cultural heritage and outreach. Through artistic approaches, exchange, collaboration, dialogue and innovation, the use or interpretation of industrial spaces becomes a communicative, creative process in society. RESCUE is not necessarily looking for answers, but for feasible approaches to collaborative socio-cultural initiatives that can be realized in and between communities. Following a brief introduction of Klanghaus Untergreith and its focus on contemporary artistic practice and on regionality, Zahra will briefly describe the structure, aims and activities of RESCUE, touching on Covid-conform solutions and looking out beyond the project into an uncertain but necessarily sustainable cultural future.
Zahra Mani is a musician and composer from Pakistan and London. She lives and works in Austria (since 2001) and also spends time in the UK, Croatia and Pakistan. Her work includes compositions for solo instruments, voices and ensembles, radio art, sound installations as well as electro-acoustic and inter-medial performances. Her concert activities include live solo and ensemble performances and improvisations, as well as creating sound-based installations and art in public spaces. She plays the double bass, various guitars and the piano, and studied Indian classical music in Pakistan, where she was introduced to the tabla and sitar. In her compositions and performances, she uses electronics whilst always focusing on »organic« sound, only working with analogue sounds and field recordings she collects in an ever-growing archive. Zahra Mani’s works are imbued with her distinctive compositional voice, which continues to grow out of a fundamental openness in hearing and listening, always trying to include every acoustically perceptible moment in the creative process. Her approach to sound characterizes her musical language, which carries in it a continuous and subtle pulse, and which constantly calls into question traditional aspects such as melody, rhythm, time structure and acoustic aesthetics.
4.55 p.m. Chiara Bonfiglioli: Textile factories and their industrial heritage in the post-Yugoslav space
The industrial heritage of textile factories with a predominantly female workforce is perhaps less visible than the legacy of male-based heavy industry in the region of South-Eastern Europe. Still, it is a very significant one, given that textile factories were one of the main sites of industrial employment for working-class women during the socialist period, symbolizing women's emancipation and the modernization of gender relations. The process of deindustrialization and ruination, which affected textile factories and resulted in a devaluation of women's industrial employment, has been at the core of various activist and artistic projects that denounce the criminal privatization processes. They are characteristic of the post-socialist period and attempt to emphasize the value of women's industrial work and textile factories as sites of sociability and belonging. In this talk, Chiara Bonfiglioli will discuss some of these interventions, focusing on Croatia, to highlight younger generations' attachment to textile industrial heritage in post-Yugoslav states.
Chiara Bonfiglioli is a Lecturer in Gender and Women's Studies at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. She defended her Ph.D. at Utrecht University and held post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Pula, and the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna. Her research addresses transnational women's and feminist history, specifically focusing on the former Yugoslavia and Italy. She is the author of Women and Industry in the Balkans: The Rise and Fall of the Yugoslav Textile Sector (London: I. B. Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2019).
5:20 pm Dora Chatzi Rodopolou: Transforming industrial heritage for cultural purposes in an inclusive way
Over the past few decades, our cities have been affected by exponential developments, pressing to reinvent their physical and social historic environment. At the same time, in a climate of prolonged austerity and serious socio-cultural challenges, the demand for more pluralistic and democratic decision-making models of heritage care and management is increasing.
This presentation will discuss the inspiring potential of grassroots industrial heritage reuse practice to reload European cities with new cultural energy in an inclusive and democratic way. The subject will be examined through the critical analysis of two cases of transformed factories into cultural hotspots: The Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam and La Tabacalera in Madrid. The background and the reuse outcome of those examples will be discussed, and it will be linked with their physical, cultural, social, and financial impact. Particular emphasis will be placed on their decision-making models and their redevelopment process, which offer practical lessons of alternative ways to convert and manage industrial heritage, providing guidance and informing future relevant practice. Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou (1985, Athens) is an architect engineer and a researcher in the Urban Environment Laboratory of the Faculty of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). She holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Heritage Studies and an M.Sc. in Preservation, Conservation and Reuse of Buildings from Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), as well as an M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from the NTUA. Her Ph.D. research focused on the European industrial heritage reuse practice. Her research interests lie in the fields of conservation, adaptation, and management of architectural heritage and the field of heritage-led urban regeneration. Between 2006 and 2010 and since 2016, she has been working as a researcher in the Urban Environment Laboratory in the Faculty of Architecture NTUA. She has been involved in projects related to the recording, preservation, and reuse of Greek historic industrial sites and urban planning and redevelopment projects. She has been a fellow of the Bodosakis Foundation, the British School in Athens, the Stichting fonds Catharine van Tussenbroek and the Onassis Foundation. Her work has been published in Greek, Dutch, Spanish and international journals.
5:45 p.m. Break
5:55 p.m. Miha Lovše: Abandoned former Yugoslavian railways watchtower turned into a private (»semi-public«) concert venue
Miha Lovše will present a short history of Tower 3 (orig. Stolp 3), a switch building, which gained new life as a concert space through the renovation and establishment of basic functionality. He will talk about the starting points of such an initiative, which at the same time preserves the industrial heritage and acquires a new recognizable cultural location. In doing so, program and financial independence are guaranteed exclusively on a do-it-yourself basis. Tower 3 (orig. Stolp 3) was entered in the Official Register of National Cultural Heritage in 2017 as the only (still) existing facility of this kind within the Maribor Main Railway Station.
Miha Lovše (1976, Maribor) graduated from the Faculty of Architecture (2006). In the years 2009–2019, he was a DIY promoter and music events organizer. From 2010 to 2020, he was an NGO activist in health and ecology, and in the period 2017–2020, an »independent cultural worker, producer« according to Slovenian labor legislation. In 2009 he founded an independent concert venue – Tower 3 (orig. Stolp 3), Maribor, 2009–2019. In 2010 he co-founded an independent film community – Kino Udarnik (Udarnik cinema), which was active in Maribor in the years 2010–2015. In 2017 he founded an independent musical events venue – Portal: Bojler, Maribor, 2016–2019. Miha Lovše is in charge of more than 100 music events on sites like ex-railways watchtower, traveling raft, regular train lines, rooftop, train station, public parking spaces, etc.
6:20 pm Božena Končić Badurina: If only the factory would honk
Božena Končić Badurina's artistic research of the industrial heritage of the island of Korčula (2017–2020) was carried out in collaboration with Galerija Miroslav Kraljević (G-MK) based in Zagreb and Grey Area Association based in Korčula. The research's main focus was on two factories – Jadranka (1892–2006), the so-called Fabrika, a fish processing and canning factory, and Ambalaža (1965–2006), a tin packaging factory in Vela Luka, where women made up 80 % of the workforce. The project included field research and participatory work with the local community, emphasizing inter-generational dialogue between former factory workers and the young generation of locals. The research's final outcome was the artist's book If only the factory would honk (orig. Kad bi frabrika trubila) based on a workshop at the primary school in Vela Luka. The book can be regarded as an attempt at the reevaluation of intangible industrial heritage, based on informal oral history and the memory of female workers, and as a new insight into the perception and construction of local identity marked by the industrial past.
Božena Končić Badurina (1967) is a visual artist based in Zagreb. She has a degree in German and Russian language and literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. She also enrolled in a BFA at the printmaking department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Some of her solo exhibitions include Silver City, Vladimir Bužančić Gallery, Zagreb, 2018; Franz-Jürgensstrasse 12, Kunstaspekte, Düsseldorf, 2015; Guide to the Gallery, Forum Gallery, Zagreb, 2013; Space for the Public, Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, 2012; More Passive Than Every Passivity, Art in General, New York, 2010. She has taken part in many group exhibitions like Refreshing memory, Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2019; Between There and There: the Third Place of Belonging, Out of Sight, Antwerp, 2019; NO STOP NON STOP, Lothringer13 Halle, Munich, 2018; 2nd Industrial Art Biennial On the Shoulders of Fallen Giants, People’s Museum, Labin, 2018; FIRST BORN GIRL, feminist culture and action festival, Frosina hall, Skopje, 2018. Her work has won many prizes, and she has participated in several artist-in-residence programs like Q21, Vienna, 2019; gray area/GMK, Korčula, 2017; Kunstaspekte/Kulturamt, Düsseldorf, 2015; Art in General, New York, 2010.
6:45 pm Irfan Hošić: Urban and cultural transformation through the practice of total engagement - case study KRAK
Center for contemporary culture KRAK, in northwestern Bosnian city Bihać, was established in 2020 as a result of endeavors in the field of critical theory, art/design practice, and civic engagement generated in the last several years around City Gallery and Department of Textile Design at the University of Bihać. It is an independent and autonomous space that emerged due to continued scientific observations and practical implementations. Its conceptual context is framed by post-socialist and post-industrial characteristics – unsuccessful and painful transformation from Yugoslav socialism into post-Yugoslav neoliberal capitalism. The prominent markers of that period are conflicted relations, depopulation, poverty, and trauma.
KRAK focuses on contemporary culture, including visual arts, design, and social theory as a frame for proactive practice. It is imagined as a participative project with different protagonists who use social engagement and urban transformation tools to foster the process of learning, informal education, and cultural exchange. KRAK is about to launch its first program for 2021, where questions of migrations, identity, public space, and visual culture intend to be bespoken and articulated.
Irfan Hošić (1977) completed his Ph.D. at the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb in 2011. His scope of research is modern and contemporary art, design, fashion, and architecture. He was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the College for Creative Studies and Wayne State University in Detroit (2019–2020) and a post-doctoral researcher at the Ghent University (2013–2014). As a guest lecturer, he taught at the University of Michigan, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Florida, Western Kentucky University, Paderborn University, University of Graz, and University Nova of Lisbon. Hošić holds the Patterns Lectures Award (Erste Stiftung and WUS Austria, 2016) and the Culture Watch Award for journalists (BIRN, 2012). He is the author of the book Out of Context (orig. Iz/Van konteksta, Connectum Sarajevo, 2013) and editor-in-chief of the nomadic zine Revizor. Hošić was a curator of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). He curated numerous exhibitions. He is the founder and director of the Foundation Revizor (2016) and a founder and artistic director of the Center for contemporary culture KRAK (Bihać, 2020). He teaches Art History and Modern Art and Design at the Textile Department at the University of Bihać.
The conference is part of the RESCUE (2019–2021) project co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union and Ministry for Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia.
RESCUE is a smaller scale cooperation project co-funded by the EACEA Creative Europe program. Partners from Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Austria invite artists and students from secondary schools to explore the history of abandoned industrial sites in the participant countries, with a view to re-defining them as sustainable cultural spaces. Local students participate in workshops to re-discover the selected space, its industrial history and its significance for the region and its inhabitants. In an ongoing transnational exchange between the curatorial partners, the project participants communicate with audiences across the RESCUE network. The complex relationship between history, industrial heritage, people and socio-cultural developments is reflected in a creative process that will result in a postulation of cultural strategies that might be useful towards a broader regeneration of disused industrial sites through creativity. Working so closely with students and their surroundings, RESCUE enables ongoing grass-roots cultural exchange between participants and local citizens, who will be invited to participate in the performances, presentations and exhibitions that the children and artists develop.