Located in the northeastern part of the Ruhr region is Germany’s most densely populated area: the Recklinghausen district, aka the Vest.
The artist collective KUNSTrePUBLIK declares this zone – for years in a state of upheaval – the Archipel in√est (Archipelago in Vest).
The conventions of urban planning and economic development are flooded. Experimental islands come into being and are reclaimed by the invited artists. Utopian projects, crude assertions, and improbable experiments emerge, bringing forth images that take on a life of their own in the public eye and invigorate the citizenry to demand real change.
The artist collective KUNSTrePUBLIK was invited by Urbane Künste Ruhr to develop an independent, ‘mobile lab’ for the Vest: Archipel in√est spotlights questions concerning the present and future status of the Ruhr region, investigating these with artistic projects.
Vest – the northern Ruhr region
The ‘Ruhrgebiet’ (Ruhr region), also called the ‘Kohlenpott’ (Coal Pit), ‘Ruhrpott’ (Ruhr Pit), or ‘Pott’ (Pit), is home to approximately 5.1 million inhabitants and covers an area of 4,435 square kilometers making it the largest urban agglomeration in Germany and the fifth largest in Europe. This densely settled region located in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia takes its name from the Ruhr that runs along its southern border.
The term Ruhr region is not an official administrative designation. Its boundaries are not precisely defined and are subject to interpretation. Usually, the boundaries are based on those laid out by the ‘Siedlungsverband Ruhrkohlenbezirk,’ founded in 1920 and known today as the ‘Regionalverband Ruhr’ (RVR). Belonging to the RVR are the independent cities of Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Hagen, Hamm, Herne, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, the Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis district and the districts of Unna, Wesel, and Recklinghausen.
The district of Recklinghausen calls itself the ‘Vest,’ a medieval term for a secular dominion of the Archdiocese of Cologne.
Archipel in√est ist a projekt of KUNSTrePUBLIK, invited by Urbane Künste Ruhr.