19 September 2008


I decided to move to Hustadt to have a better chance to learn about the place. Of course, I could have made several site visits as well since it is not that far away from Amsterdam. However, this was also a personal experiment, not only necessary for the research itself. Just as an anthropologist approaches her topic as a participant-observer, I felt this approach was vital to the project. I got a place to live and work, which I shared with the Stadtumbaubüro Hustadt – SUB. They had just opened their office in the neighbourhood at the same time. My space was about 40 m2 situated on the ground floor with direct access from Brunnenplatz. The view from my kitchen was of Brunnenplatz. I also shared a meeting space of 15 m2 with SUB. I used it occasionally for meetings and dinners. Interestingly, although we (SUB and myself) did not know of each other prior to my moving in, we had both been commissioned by the City of Bochum. Their task was to open an “independent neighbourhood management office” which would facilitate communication between the inhabitants and the city about the regeneration project for “Innere Hustadt”. SUB was two people: sociologist Uta Schütte-Hermeyer and urban planner Alexander Kutsch. From them I also learnt of another partner in “our team”: a landscape-architect office, represented by Christine Wolf, that had been commissioned for the urban design of the public space in the area called “Innere Hustadt”. When we finally all got to know one another, we were able to cooperate very well together. They all have been very curious about my work and very enthusiastic about my ideas and methods of research. Of course, it took some time before they understood what I was doing, however, with time they have come to highly appreciate my comments and critiques. I myself have learned a lot from working with them as well. The only partner in the team who was very much suspicious of my actions in Hustadt was the representative of the City of Bochum. I got a 9-month contract (until May 2009) to produce an art project. Yet it was already clear from the beginning that the whole planning/building process would not be finished by then or would maybe just start happening by that time. The latter eventually proved to be the case. Either the City had been speculating about me producing something “fast and cheap” or they hadn’t been thinking at all. This early oversight became quite an important issue later on.

working space

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