"I Heart Ruhr York" - for love of the region
Artist group from Duisburg sets up Ruhr network. An interview with Marc Nikoleit and Bartosz Kwiecinski.
New York is the city that never sleeps. The Ruhr area is commonly known for the opposite, especially when it comes to arts and culture. From Duisburg you may think: why from Duisburg out of all places is the group "I Heart Ruhr York" looking to promote the region's artist scene with the help of a strong network? At the bar of Goldengrün's, Bartosz Kwiecinski and Marc Nikoleit talk about quality, club programme and allotment gardens.
"Ruhr York“ – did you get infected with the virus of the Ruhr metropolis or is it more of a pandemonium on the Ruhr mania?
Bartosz: We did pursue the idea to transport the idea of a metropolis as a whole. There is so much to see right at our doorstep and beyond right around the corner.
You clearly understand the region as metropolitan area.
Duisburg finds itself in the middle of structural change and it hasn't ben fulfilled. The first universities of the Ruhr area were established in the 1970s. Before that, it was a small area with regards to bourgeoisie. Forty years are nothing in the grand scheme of things. Without speaking for our group I find that it's only the beginning. And "I Heart Ruhr York" wants to be actively involved.
Originally, what was the main goal when you started this project?
Bartosz: We want to take our potential and passion to promote the development. Many things are present but many just act on their own behalf.
Marc: There isn't enough dialogue. Our idea developed and received a warm welcome in Duisburg. We have quite a large group of artists who are actively involved and who transport the idea. Yet it's called "Ruhr York" and not "Ruhr Place". Essentially it's about establishing a better network for the Ruhr area. One idea was to take part in vernissages, theatre plays or festival every weekend and to introduce ourselves as follows: Hi, my name is Marc von "I Heart..." - we are an artist network group and we will soon have our own website to promote arts and culture in the Ruhr area.
With some kind of label.
Marc: Of course. There is no point in pursuing this idea without a label. The logo is an eye-catcher, the word is striking and easy to understand at the same time. We are a real melting-pot, hence the comparison to New York.
It could be seen as megalomaniac.
Marc: We don't see the Ruhr area as a matured megalopolis. Yet something can flourish here. Without directly saying: We will establish a huge artist network within a year. There is no megalomania behind it.
Your base is in Germany's capital for culture prevention - Duisburg. What do you currently see as the biggest artistic stumbling block?
The Goldengrün is also affected.
Bartosz: We had a normal clubbing programme on the weekend. During the week, we are more like a bar with some programme. The city decided to regard DJs as live musicians which means that we can only have such live events once a month because they do not match our licence. It's totally absurd because no DJ would ever call himself live musician.
The city of Duisburg is now overcautious because they made mistakes in the past that they would like to prevent in future so that the cannot be held accountable or get negative media coverage. We are acting independently for now and we want to realise our goals without subsidies. Things are put on hold because the city has fear something might go wrong. For us at Goldengrün, we get hit hard by this.
A spectre overshadows the Ruhr area. The Ruhr ghost! More on this topic in the second piece...
Teaser photo: I Heart Ruhr York