Werkleitz Festival 2012 .move forward – new mexican and european media art
.move forward is not being shown in an exhibition venue, not in a museum and not in a theatre but on an inner-city street. The exhibition parcours developed for .move forward in the town centre of Halle (Saale) extends across a 500 metres long route leading from Stadtbad, the public baths, through Große Steinstraße to the Varieté on Steintor. A legendary hotel, the remnants of a cinema and a former fire station make up further striking locations along the parcours.
For many years now Werkleitz has a practice of developing exhibition sites beyond institutionalised spaces of the art world. Opening up Halle’s zoological auditorium as cinema was an obvious step for a festival with a theme such as ZOO (2011), while making use of the Volkspark as the erstwhile communal house of Halle’s workforce for Common Property (2004) meant localising an idea. In .move forward, the city itself has become the exhibition venue.
The .move forward exhibition sites have significances that are independent of each other. The respective history of the location can be surmised based on their traditional German designation (Schauburg – cinema, Feuerwache – fire station, Varieté – music hall). Their condition, specific architecture and structure in addition to their various textures allow for further speculations. Several of the exhibited works are site-specific; others had to be developed further in order to take the special features of the location into consideration.
The immediate vicinity of the numerous exposed places, most of which lay dormant, makes a showing of works in the parcours possible. A comfortable void is the spatial situation of the exhibition parcours; it characterises the daily routine of this street. In order to provide more information about everyday life on the street, Werkleitz initiated radio interviews with residents and active members of the neighbourhood, exemplifying the expectations linked to the developments in the quarter.
Megacity versus shrinking city
Große Steinstraße and Steintor are among Halle’s current development areas. The district’s promised future prosperity can initially be derived from its function: as a major centre island, Steintor is the gateway to the city; Große Steinstraße leads directly to the Marktplatz. But the demolition of the large housing developments in the west and south of the city as well as the concentration on neighbourhoods near the centre of town are essential for such a development. As opposed to Mexico City, the city of Halle (Saale) is shrinking down to its historic core. In this respect, the main attractions between both cities rest in their disparity.