The wandering hole
At a speed of 2,3 cm per hour the brown coal mining hole Garzweiler II ‘wanders’ through the landscape of Germany. Until 2045 everything has to give way to the extraction of brown coal. Ecological systems and social entities are put under enormous strain. Today’s continued dependence on fossil sources of energy becomes a tangible reality within a project such as Garzweiler II, a brown coal mining hole moving steadily through the landscape of the German North Rhine Westphalia region, 24 hours every day. The Wandering Hole researches the practices and consequences of brown coal mining. In 1995 the project Garzweiler II was approved by the government in order to provide a constant and reliable supply of energy. Independence of foreign supplies was a major argument to approve a substantial extension of the mining area, up to 4.800 hectares until 2045. Resulting in a long-lasting process of transformation. Affected by this process are: 15 historical towns, about 7.000 re-settlers and nature. Inhabitants have to deal with the consequences on a daily basis. They live in an in-between condition. Trapped between old and new. In-between recollection and hope, loss and gain, cultivated homeland and valuable resources. In-between consent and protest. In-between questioning and clarity. In-between here and there. In-between past, present and future tenses. The design project emphasizes and visualizes this long-lasting transformation phase and the multifaceted involved interest groups. Until today the route of the hole is clear. Garzweiler II is still moving ahead. Yet, it remains unclear how far the mining hole will wander. Here, Germany’s federal government has the final say. Beyond that, this issue is not only topical within Germany. Similar issues arise worldwide where national energy policies collide with regional and individual interests.
Photo by Femke Rijerman